"Raising awareness is always fulfilling; raising awareness of the No. 1 killer of women is especially satisfying. That is why one day is not enough. As women in high-profile roles, we need to do better. We need to do more."
Thanks to Wenzel, Variety and the American Heart Association partnered to hold a "Women in Entertainment" luncheon in Los Angeles on Thursday. It was a chance for powerful women in the entertainment industry to hear her story for the first time and to use it as a call to action.
The medical community is on the front lines, of course, treating sick patients, helping others recover and -- equally importantly -- educating and encouraging others how to avoid the dangerous tentacles of the No. 1 killer of Americans.
At a young age I was a swimmer with dreams of being an Olympian champion! Then my heart rate wouldn't slow down after races and workouts, and I knew it was something more than just overexertion, I knew that something was wrong.
As our youngest son, Julian, was having his breakfast and his older brother, Victor, was still sleeping, their father and my husband, Tony, suddenly began complaining of dizziness, shortness of breath and weakness.
Arianna and I recognized this as an opportunity to have a more profound impact. Together, we could -- no, should -- use whatever influence we have to touch more women, and to focus their attention on this vital issue of women and heart disease.
I have no family history of heart disease, yet I was able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack because I have a sister-in-law who cares enough to hit "send," and because there's an actress who knows how to make those symptoms memorable.