Women With Heart Celebrate Decade of Fundraising, Life-Saving Education
Dr. Timothy Knowles was standing on the third tee a few months ago and something just didn’t feel quite right.
His stomach was bothering him, he tactfully explained to the audience Tuesday at the Morehouse School of Medicine/Women With Heart Men’s Heart Healthy Breakfast in the Georgia Aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom. Thinking that might be the source of his discomfort – and in fact, cardiac issues can initially seem to be indigestion, nausea or other digestive symptoms – he and his playing partner returned to the clubhouse. There, Knowles asked the attendant for some antacids, then later headed back out to the tee box. But once he got there, he rethought his situation.
Good thing. After returning home and resting, the former San Jose State track-and-field standout still felt ill, so he went to get checked out. At the hospital, they told him he had indeed had a heart attack.
Knowles recovered but a few months later in church, he started feeling sick again. This time he knew. This time, he didn’t waste time. Straight to the hospital, where they ultimately removed a blood clot.
Today, Knowles, a retired senior university administrator, is active, healthy, happy and pleased to share his story of surviving American’s number-one killer – cardiovascular disease. He wants everyone to understand the symptoms and the steps we can all take to reduce our risk of heart attack or stroke.
In 2009, former MSM first lady Eilene Maupin gathered a group of friends to create something special for MSM students, the institution and the metro Atlanta community. They created Women With Heart and launched their first Heart Healthy Week. Their goals are simple but life-altering
- Raise student scholarship funds.
- Promote healthy lifestyles.
- Increase community awareness about heart health and cardiovascular disease, particularly among women of color.
“To say they have succeeded over the past decade is an understatement of the greatest magnitude,” said President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D.
In that time, WWH has raised more than $1.4 million, awarded scholarships to more than 100 students, provided thousands of free health screenings to seniors and other community members, and triggered in-depth community discussions that have doubtlessly save lives through education.
Heart Healthy Week 2019 got off to a wonderful start with a record turnout of more than 400 for the breakfast, which included a serenade for Hall of Fame baseball player and men’s breakfast honorary co-chair Henry “Hank” Aaron, who was celebrating his 85th birthday. Other events during the week include the women’s luncheon Wednesday, also at the Georgia Aquarium, and community health screenings on the MSM campus Thursday.
Former MSM President John Maupin, co-chair of this year’s event, introduced Knowles – his former college roommate – and Dr. Reed Tuckson, managing partner at Tuckson Health Connections. The pair conversed about Knowles’ experiences.
“Our goal is simple,” Maupin said, “Begin the dialogue while providing the tools to prevent everyone in this room from becoming a statistic.”
Dr. Maupin also used the opportunity to announce his personal gift of $50,000 to create the Eilene Maupin Women With Heart Endowed Scholarship Fund and challenged others to join him. That gift put the WWH fundraising goal of $400,000 for the week within reach.
“I want to recognize and thank all of the women who have built this event over the years, as well as our new members,” Maupin concluded, acknowledging presenting sponsors Regions Bank and The Coca-Cola Company along with dozens of participating sponsors. “This journey would not be possible without the continued support of our sponsors and enthusiastic participation from supporters like you. Thank you.”