[Event; ~ Pronunciation: /dres/ / red/ /dey/]
- Definition: Wearing something red for a day to help draw attention to heart disease among women (or in my case: among everyone you know or don’t know – just everyone, basically).
“Always dress like you are going to see your worst enemy”
– Kimmora Lee Simmons –
Today is Dress Red Day in the Netherlands. Its objection is simple: wear something red to ask for attention for heart disease, as this is the number one cause of death among Dutch women.
I first got involved in this seemingly silly annual event when I was on a holiday in Norway. One of the guides had gotten a new heart years before the trip and when September hit its 29th day, our group joined in with wearing something red. To show respect, to ask for attention and to not forget it could happen to anyone of us, too: heart failure.
Red is not my colour, as you can see in the picture. Not only that, but I don’t own a single piece of clothing in this colour, apart from my Canada cardigan.
So in Norway I borrowed my cousin’s red hat, last year I put something pink as a compromise and this year I snuggled into my Canada cardigan, which, to be frank, was way too hot for today’s weather. Still, it’s red anyway and it cooled down outside in the afternoon, so whatever.
But my real Dress Red Day-saviours this year are my On The Catwalk!-lipstick (which I’d eaten off by the time I took the picture – I forgot to reapply) and my Juicy Love-nail polish.
I am afraid I’ll have to come up with something better next year, but for now this will do.
Why is this issue so important to me? For starters, I am a Dutch woman and heart failure is the number one cause of death among us. Heart dysfunction is often associated with older men, but unfortunately it also hits many younger women. So breaking the stereotype and trying to grow awareness is important! Spread the word!
Secondly, I heard the story of how C, the Norway guide, got a new heart. It was both scary and beautiful, and it set me thinking: what if it would happen to someone close to me? Or to me? What would I do, if there was nothing left but to wait for someone to die so I could (maybe) live? And about all the risks there are regarding receiving a donor heart? It’s all but easy, you know. Even after the operation and you live, it’s all but easy.
C‘s story gave me goosebumps and put things in perspective.
Finally, my aunt came around today and told me T, my cousin, will undergo heart surgery next month. He’s got Down Syndrome and has been in hospitals a lot, often for his heart, but I thought after the surgery he had when I was a kid he was doing fine. Guess not.
This news really upset me. T is a great young man and he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body. Even if we’re not really in touch (our parents fell out yeeaars ago), the thought he could die makes me very sad. He’s so innocent, why does this has to happen? He’s got such a big heart, why does it have to malfunction?
Dress Red Day is important to me, yes. But it’s important to so many other people, too. That’s why I keep trying to find something red to put on (me) each year, even if it’s just lipstick, to show I care. So I can stick to the official slogan, and show I have a heart.