Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks, who directs and stars in the Go Red For Women short film “Just a Little Heart Attack,” is being honored at the Variety Power of Women Awards today in Beverly Hills. The annual luncheon honors philanthropic women for their humanitarian efforts that have made a significant difference in their chosen causes.
“Just a Little Heart Attack,” which is inspired by the real-life stories of women who have been affected by heart disease, shows Banks as a typical mom making breakfast, doing laundry, helping with homework and getting ready for work. But the morning is quickly turned on its side when she finds herself stumbling through the kitchen as she ignores the warning signs of a heart attack.
“As women, we take care of everyone in our lives – our husbands, our kids, our mothers, our fathers — but we never look at ourselves,” Banks said. “So this little film is about a super mom who learns the lesson that she better look at herself as well.”
The film’s goal is to provide a wake-up call to women to understand their risk for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women, and to empower them to put their health first.
“Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between awareness and action among women,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Go Red For Women spokesperson and director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Until women fully recognize their risk for heart disease — and take personal responsibility for preventing it – we will continue to lose the battle against the disparities of awareness, care and treatment among women.”
In the video, Banks acts out many of the heart attack symptoms that are common in women, but not commonly known. She goes on to show how women go to great pains to take care of their families and friends while ignoring their own needs. She’s even apologetic for bothering the 9-1-1 dispatcher, and more concerned about the mess in the house that will greet the emergency medics.
With no family history of heart disease, Christie Thompson watched the film and remembered it later after her own symptoms didn’t subside. She called 9-1-1 right away. “I’ve shared it with everyone I know because I believe it saved my life,” Thompson said.
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