Faye Jackson and Romanza Pruitt visited Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee on Thursday, February 1st at 11 a.m. as he signed the proclamation declaring Friday, February 2, 2024 National Wear Red Day for the City of Laurel.
The proclamation signing was followed by remembrances of Jackson’s daughter, Kaila Unae Porter, who passed away at age 23 after a lifelong battle with heart disease. Porter’s congenital heart disease was discovered when she was only 6 months old and Jackson was told that her daughter was not expected to live very long. “When she made it to 18, the doctors were so proud,” she recalled.
Jackson made a point to encourage her daughter to make her own decisions and be her own person and not let her condition define or confine her life any more than was necessary. Porter graduated from school, made friends in the community, and worked until her health would not allow it. She lived in a group home for several months before her death because she wanted to live more independently. “She was a person on her own,” Jackson said. “There were over 300 people at her funeral.”
“She was everybody’s friend,” Mayor Magee recalled with a smile.
Porter passed away on June 24, 2006 and in February 2007, Jackson began her advocacy work to raise awareness about the seriousness of heart disease. She started by participating in Wear Red Day in Jackson but decided that she needed to bring her efforts to Laurel as well.
“I thank my mayor because he helps me tell everybody about this,” she said. “Wear Red. Show your support for heart disease because it can affect everyone.”
The proclamation read as follows:
Whereas, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in every four deaths among women; and
Whereas, women’s risk of heart disease begins to increase between the ages of forty and sixty; and
Whereas, women historically, have failed to make the connection between risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and their personal risk of developing heart disease; and
Whereas, research reveals that most women underestimate their personal risk and do not fully understand the devastating impact that heart disease has on one’s life and family; and
Whereas, Wear Red Day is a program which was begun in 2001 when seventy leading experts in women’s health sought to develop a national action plan to reduce the toll of heart disease on American woman; and
Whereas, Wear Red Day is designed to get attention, to convey the seriousness of heart disease, and to change the perception that heart disease is only a man’s issue; and
Whereas, the first Friday in February of each year has been designated Wear Red Day by The Heart Truth, which is the national campaign for awareness of women’s heart health sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); and
Whereas, the City of Laurel wishes to participate in this worthwhile program
Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby declare Friday, February 2, 2024 as National Wear Red Day in the City of Laurel and encourage all citizens to educate themselves about the risk factors of heart disease in women, the seriousness of the impact of heart disease on women and their families, and the importance of taking actions among women to protect their heart health, in witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi, to be affixed this the 1st day of February, A.D. 2024.
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