Indiana Daily Student

Heart Project coming to Bloomington

Brea Weil-Hearon, the director of fund development for The Women's Heart Foundation, started The Heart Project in 2004 and has made it her life's ambition to help prevent women from suffering a premature death from heart disease. \nThe Heart Project, which is coming to Bloomington for the first time this year, collects unwanted costume jewelry and sells it at an event called "Untax My Heart," which is held the first Saturday after tax day.\n"I do this in memory of my mom, who died of a massive heart attack in 1994," Weil-Hearon said. "She was misdiagnosed and was told she was just having panic attacks."\nWeil-Hearon started the project while she was attending school at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. The project now takes place in Indiana, New Jersey and Ohio. Weil-Hearon's mother left a will, which stipulated that her jewelry and needlepoint not be divided until Weil-Hearon was 21. When the time came to divide the jewelry between Weil-Hearon and her sister, they were at a loss as to what to do with it. They eventually decided to sell it.\nThe jewelry sale will take place April 22 at the corner of 10th and College Streets. Last year, when The Heart Project was just in Ohio, Weil-Hearon raised more than $4,000. This year she said she hopes that she can raise $20,000 in Indiana alone. "Untax My Heart" will also have nurses on hand to answer questions about heart disease and to perform blood pressure screenings. In addition to the used jewelry sale, some jewelry donated from retail stores will be auctioned at the event. \nThe money raised by The Heart Project will benefit the Women's Heart Foundation. Some of that money will go to help educate nurses about heart disease in women in order to help correctly diagnose women with heart disease.\nWeil-Hearon said she hopes to make women more aware about heart disease. Her mother, who was 45 when she died, was in the best shape of her life and had a healthy diet. She hopes that people realize they may still be at risk for heart disease even though they eat healthy and are in shape.\nWeil-Hearon said it is common for women to be misdiagnosed. She said the symptoms in women are generally milder and more generalized. Women who are having a heart attack will often feel like they are tired or have the flu. In addition, women take longer to report a heart attack than men.\nHeart disease refers to various heart ailments including coronary heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain and rheumatic heart disease. According to the Women's Heart Foundation Web site, coronary heart disease, a disease of the blood vessels of the heart that causes heart attacks, is the leading killer of Americans. A heart attack occurs when an artery becomes blocked, which prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. \n"Heart disease kills more women than the next seven causes of death combined," Weil-Hearon said. "It has killed more women than men every year since 1984."\nWeil-Hearon said she hopes IU students will participate in the event. She said students could help by donating jewelry, helping to clean and price the jewelry, and by attending "Untax My Heart." A drop-off box is located on campus at the philosophy office in Sycamore Hall. \nMore information on The Heart Project can be found at http://www.womensheart.org/HeartProject.com.

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