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Deb’s Story: How a Change of Heart Saved her Life

There isn’t one defining reason why Deb Rolfe, 61, chose to change her lifestyle for the better. She just got to a point where she was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

“My work life was very stressful. I had high blood pressure, was overweight, and had a family history of heart disease and diabetes. I was fearful for my future health,” she says.

Little by little, she started incorporating healthy practices into her life. She lost weight and gained muscle through working out, and changed her diet (which–in turn—helped to reduce her dangerously high blood sugar levels) by eating low gylcemic and organic food and avoiding prepackaged foods chock full of additives. She started out by setting small, attainable goals and slowly replacing bad habits with good ones.

Her healthy habits may have saved her life. Two years ago she suffered massive injuries after being hit by a truck while out on her morning walk. Her doctors credit her strong health prior to the accident as the reason she survived. Her injuries were so severe that, for months, she breathed through a tracheostomy tube and walked with the aid of a walker.

Not being “up to speed” was frustrating for Deb, whose wide range of interests include remodeling and maintenance projects, lake sports, yoga, sewing, crafts, entertaining friends and family, and spending time with her grandkids. She took it one day at a time and worked hard to recover. She exceeded her doctor’s expectations by competing in the Boston Scientific Heart of Summer Race in July of 2008.

“Heart of Summer is not about running. It’s not just about fitness,” explains Beth Larson, a founding race organizer who now helps coordinate the 10-week training clinics. “It’s about changing peoples lives. The women and men who participate train, eat better, and encourage others to do the same.”

Boston Scientific covers the race expenses through their sponsorship, which allows proceeds from the race to help fund heart-health initiatives in the local community.

“Boston Scientific is very committed to educating women about the role of health and fitness in the prevention of heart disease,” Beth says.

Deb not only finished the 5K walk/run, she was also chosen as the American Heart Association’s “Go Red Change of Heart” Award Winner.

“Deb has overcome so many odds,” Beth says. “She demonstrated that a commitment to a physically active lifestyle and heart-healthy diet regime can have benefits beyond everyday health.”

Is Your Workout Losing Momentum?

Women just like you are sharing their successes and supporting each other through the challenges of living heart-healthy. Choose to move and join the conversation at

Start Your Story to Heart Health

Share your Heart-Health Story at the Go Red Casting Call Feb. 6

Choices. We face them every day. Some choices are un-important, some are life-changing. But what if the choices you thought were small were actually the ones that mattered?

The stairs or the elevator? Baked or fried? What if these choices meant you were the one woman in every three to die of heart disease this year?

Choose to Take Action for Better Health

I choose to walk, not sit. Visit and sign up for a FREE 12-week physical activity and nutrition program you can customize to fit your lifestyle.
I choose to eat baked, not fried. Find cooking tips and flavorful recipes that are good for your heart in the Go Red “Love Your Heart” 5th anniversary cookbook at
I choose to breathe, not smoke. Find out how to quit for good at
I choose to live, not be the 1 woman in 3 that dies of heart disease: visit and post your own story of the choices you have made and results achieved.

Choose to Share Your Heart Health Story

National Go Red Casting Call
Friday, February 6
Mall of America, Rotunda

5 – 8 p.m.

Bring friends and family, share your story together, and vie for the chance to be a local and even national spokesperson for Go Red For Women.

Can’t Make it to the Casting Call?

Become your own movie producer. Submit your story with a homemade YouTube video and you might see your movie featured on Fox 9 News. Email your YouTube video link to

National Wear Red Day Rally at the Capitol 

What? National Wear Red Day Rally
When? Friday, February 6
Where? Minnesota State Capitol
Rotunda, St. Paul
Time? 11 a.m. – noon

Why? The Women’s Heart Health Promotion Act will be introduced at the rally. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in Minnesota, and we can change this by investing in early detection through funding the SagePlus program, providing screenings for low-income and uninsured women. Coordinated through the Minnesota Department of Health, the program not only includes screenings for cardiovascular disease, but provides risk reduction counseling, support, and incentives to help women make positive health changes in their lives. The women are then rescreened after one year in the program.

Currently about 1,900 women are screened. We need to increase this to at least 19,000 to truly make an impact and save lives.

Support this bill by joining “You’re The Cure” at or contact Rachel Callanan at

Get In Style – Join Go Red

The “Go Red Style Guide” is filled with tips for you and your family on health, nutrition and fitness; a family “health history” tree; links to resources; and three easy and delicious heart-healthy recipes. If you register to join the Go Red For Women movement online, you will get a FREE “Go Red Style Guide” mailed to you along with the iconic “Red Dress” lapel pin and monthly e-newsletters with the latest on women’s health science. Join today at

Trying to Shop Healthy?

Nearly 70 percent of female grocery shoppers that make grocery lists, forget to take them to the store, according to a recent by the American Heart Association. No worries. You can now build your grocery list online at, which also makes it easier to select heart-healthy foods. And if you forget to print or bring your online grocery list, you can download it from your cell phone or PDA at


Boston Scientific, St. Jude Medical, Medtronic


Campbell Soup Company
C.H. Robinson Worldwide
Crystal Farms
Dorsey & Whitney
Medica Foundation
Merchant & Gould
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi
TCF Foundation
United HealthCare