They are going big for the heart.
Employees at Macy’s are the face of heart health awareness for the department store’s new campaign in honor of the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red for Women campaign. Five of the company’s associates personally affected by heart-related illnesses are the ambassadors for the mission, and one of them is Jamaican-American mom Natasha Dyce, who was diagnosed with high-blood pressure last year.
The Harlem resident said she had some instances where she was not feeling well and a few concerns about her health. Upon seeking out some answers she discovered the source of her illness.
“I was always out of breath and wasn’t working out. Then I went to Mount Sinai to see a heart specialist and they told me I had high-blood pressure,” said Dyce, a contract coordinator at Macy’s. “Up until that point, I had never watched my blood pressure and never took it serious.”
Dyce who lost a grandmother to heart disease, recalled her family history of heart issues, and a strong wake up call.
“The doctor gave me talk and I told her about my grandmother and she told me ‘You’re going to be like your grandmother if you don’t get it together’ — that really hit home.”
Macy’s reached out to employees who were directly affected by heart disease for the campaign. Dyce knew it was time for her to share her story, and even found solace with some of her coworkers when she learned of their own battles with heart health.
“My grandmother and I were very close and her death impacted me. Then in 2016, I was diagnosed with high-blood pressure, so told my story and the company selected me,” she said.
But the enlightening part about the campaign was hearing the stories of her coworkers with heart illnesses.
“It was amazing to say the least — one had triple bypass surgery and another had heart murmur. I wasn’t the only one who was personally affected,” she said. “Seeing all ladies and hearing their stories — we all bonded. It’s a support system and we stay in touch with each other and that makes me feel more empowered.”
For the duration of the mission, Macy’s will donate 10 percent of proceeds to the Go Red for Women Campaign with the purchase of select brands of activewear and red dresses, and 100 percent of donations with the purchase of a pin.
Dyce said living with high blood pressure gave her a new outlook on her health, and has made many lifestyle changes to improve her health.
“I love spicy food but I had to cut back on that and salt, and a lot of processed foods. I am more health conscious,” she said.
But most importantly, she is happy to share her to story to encourage more awareness in people, despite some initial hesitance.
“What’s really been an impact is posting the link on FaceBook and a lot of people reaching out to me,” said Dyce. “Even though I was really vulnerable to share, this was a chance to open up and it’s been a good experience.”