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Wellmont Health System says Amy Stevens has her heart in the right place

Getting to the heart of the matter has consumed Erwin resident Amy Stevens’ life for the past several months.
At the same time Stevens was working with her employer, Wellmont Health System, and the American Heart Association to plan the first-ever Tri-Cities Go Red for Women Luncheon, she was also taking stock of her own life – dedicating herself to a heart-healthy lifestyle that included exercise and weight loss.
More than 350 people gathered at Kingsport’s MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center May 14 for the Go Red for Women Luncheon. Celebrated entertainer Lucie Arnaz – the daughter of Hollywood legends Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball – was keynote speaker for the event.
At the Go Red event’s conclusion, Stevens was surprised with an award presented to her by Arnaz.
“Today we’ve heard about the great toll this killer disease takes on women and their families,” Arnaz said. “We have seen stories about how women have recognized the warning signs of a heart attack and how that information saved their lives. … I have shared my family’s story with you in an effort to teach and inform. And finally today, we want to leave you with some motivation, maybe even some inspiration.”
Arnaz asked audience members if they could “make the changes necessary in your life to protect your heart?”
“Yes you can,” she said, “and here’s the living proof. We have with us today a woman who decided to change her life and protect her health and her heart. She has worked hard doing all the things one needs to do: eat healthy, exercise and develop new habits. And to date, she has lost 122 pounds.”
Arnaz then called a surprised Stevens to the stage and presented her with the first-ever Wellmont Regional Heartcare Network’s Good For the Heart Award.
“When I began my journey to better health 11 months ago, I never imagined what a big difference would come from small changes,” Stevens said. “I’m a healthier, happier person, and that’s the best award of all.”
Stevens lives in Erwin with her husband, Mark A. Stevens, publisher of The Erwin Record. She is the daughter of Joe and Helen Dickeson of Jonesborough.
Go Red for Women is a national movement to raise awareness of the effects of heart disease on women.
“Every year, heart disease kills more women than the next five leading causes of death combined,” said Dr. Freddie Williams, a cardiologist with Cardiovascular Associates and the region’s Go Red for Women physician champion. “Yet research has shown 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented through diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
“Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to your heart health. Together, that’s the message Wellmont and the American Heart Association are bringing to area women through Go Red.”
Today, Stevens said, she’s feeling reborn, with a renewed optimism – all because she got to the heart of the matter and decided to make a difference in her own life.
“Weight loss can seem overwhelming for anyone – but particularly for someone who has 100 pounds or more to lose,” Stevens said. “I was that person 11 months ago, but today I have my life back. I’m still working toward my weight-loss goal, and I know I’ll get there.
“I encourage anyone who’s struggling with weight to take that first step. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.”