Kim Cowperthwaite – What does a heart attack survivor look like?
What does a heart attack survivor look like? It was easy to spot us in the crowd at the American Heart Association's Southern Maine Heart Walk. Here and there amid all the many, many supporters were the AHA-issued cap-wearers. Heart attack survivors got a red survivor's cap (a pretty nice one, I may add!); stroke survivors got white.
Onward and together we walked, through the inflatable start gate and onto the 3.5-mile course around Portland's Back Cove. We were a tight pack of sneakers, water bottles, sunscreen, baby carriages, and wet dog noses of all sizes pressing against backs of calves.
I couldn't help but look for us. Who were the others that had survived? I know, of course, my small circle of SCAD-survivor women. But in a crowd of hundreds, how do all heart attack survivors stand out? How do we compare? Who are we?
All along our route, I observed us, the Red Capped Ones, and by the end, I can tell you I have nothing to classify. No tallies. No likenesses. There was no particular visage, or gait, or girth of heart attack-ness among us. We looked like everybody. We looked like no one in particular. There were red-capped women younger than me pushing baby carriages. There was a red-capped teenage boy. I noticed a slim, athletic built man; the sign on his back said he was a heart-transplant recipient.
Heart attack survivors come in any form, any age, male or female. For one morning, though, donning our red caps, we shared footsteps and hearts beats as we each carried our unique stories of survival under a clear blue sky.