Wichita woman shares story of loss to encourage heart health education

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:54 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Ahead of the American Heart Association’s event, a woman is sharing her story of loss in hopes it encourages people to pay attention to their heart health.

The American Heart Association will host its Go Red for Women experience in Wichita on Sept. 24.

Jillian Forsberg met her best friend Lindsey Lewis in high school in Fort Scott. Their decades-long friendship stayed strong, even as career paths and distance separated them.

Three years ago, Forsberg said Lewis collapsed and never woke up. She died of an unexpected aortic dissection, which is when a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body’s main artery, the aorta.

Forsberg said Lewis’ death shook her to her core, not only because she lost her best friend, but also because of what it could mean for her. Lewis was a seemingly healthy 31-year-old woman just like Forsberg.

“I started having anxiety and panic attacks because I couldn’t control what was inside me, what was happening. And she died of something she had no control over,” said Forsberg.

Forsberg said she took control by paying attention to her body and going to the doctor. She encourages people to know their numbers and encourage their friends to do the same.

Another big message from Forsberg: love your friends and family hard because life is short.

Learn about heart health and have a fun night out at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Experience on Friday, Sept. 24.

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