Real-Life Female Heart Heroes

In comic books, heroes like Wonder Woman artfully foil the nefarious plans of some malevolent force, saving the world from total annihilation. In reality, they do so much more. They give us hope and inspire us to be strong in the face of adversity. 

But it’s not their superhuman powers that save us; it’s their superhuman courage. 

The Women’s Heart Alliance proved once and for all that superheroes are real, and they’re just as inspiring as their comic book counterparts. On social media, WHA recently featured real women who live with heart disease—actual heroines who take on the number one killer of women every day. 

It’s true. Heart disease kills more women in the U.S. each year than all cancers combined. And women are at greater risk of dying in the year following a heart attack than men are. Despite the statistics, awareness is shockingly low. Too often, patients and health professionals alike don’t realize that women can have different risk factors, different symptoms and even different responses to treatment. More attention to these gender disparities will help to drive women’s research, prevention and quality of care.  

Until women’s heart disease is adequately researched, funded and diagnosed, women have to be their own advocates. By transforming heart disease survivor stories into comic book-style superhero vignettes, WHA aims to empower more women to take their heart health into their own hands. 

The illustrations capture the cathartic moments when each woman decided to be her own hero, an experience most people living with a chronic physical or mental condition can relate to. Whether it’s demanding another round of tests, getting a second opinion or simply practicing self-care, people who live with chronic illness have to be heroic time and time again. And sometimes, it can take an almost superhuman level of courage and strength they never knew they had. 

But remember, heroism is identified in hindsight. While each of these women acted heroically, they likely didn’t feel heroic at the time. They probably felt tired, confused and alone, because that’s what it can feel like to face a challenge. So whatever you’re going through right now, however you feel in this moment, you can be your own hero. 

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