Posts Tagged ‘How to Look Good Naked’

Heather the Heroine!

January 5, 2010

When I attended the Adult Congenital Heart Association’s (ACHA) National Convention in May of 2008, I met a lot of great people – Heart Warriors from all over the country and our Cardiologists. I was especially thrilled to find myself part of a smaller, more exclusive group – Tricuspid Atresia survivors! I had never met another person with Tricuspid Atresia, and suddenly there are eight of us, posing for a photo together! And there were more than eight of us; but this is all that were around when the “group photo” was taken!

The blonde young lady in the black sleeveless dress is Heather Magee, who has become one of my best friends. Even though she lives on the other side of the country, we’ve literally walked the same path. Heather lived in the Los Angeles area at the time, and a few months later saw an advertisement: The TV show How to Look Good Naked was looking for women who have heart disease.

From the way the ad was worded, it was obvious that the producers were looking for women with acquired heart disease, with no thought of Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) Deciding that it was time she took a stand for her brothers and sisters living with a CHD, Heather marched down to the production offices and gave them a piece of her mind!

To make a long story short, Heather blew the roof off the joint. Before she knew what was happening, she was on the set of Look Good Naked with star Carson Kressley! Kressley and the show’s production staff even organized a fashion show (in which all the models participating had a Congenital Heart Defect) and presented the ACHA with a $10,000 check!

They also filmed a Public Service Announcement (PSA) with Heather promoting CHD awareness, funding, and research. It’s taken quite a while, but I’ve been able to link to the PSA that ran on Lifetime TV. In fact, this PSA is the origin of a line I often use. Heather is a wonderful, articulate woman that I am proud to call my friend. I think you’ll see why I feel that way.

(Technical stuff: The link takes you to a Facebook video and you’ll need to have the latest Flash Player update.)

Click here to view Heather Magee’s Congenital Heart Defect PSA

Because every heart deserves to live a lifetime;


December 1, 2008

“Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart.” — Peter Parker, Spider-Man

Here’s what I need you to do:

Call or e-mail everyone you know who is involved in the Congenital Heart Defect community. Heart Moms, Heart Dads, older Cardiac Kids…and ask them to read Adventures of a Funky Heart!, beginning tomorrow. By hook or by crook, get them here. If your friend doesn’t have computer access, offer to print out the page and give it to them to read.

Because tomorrow, Heather Magee is going to be my “guest host”, and she’s going to tell you about sharing her story with the viewers of How to Look Good Naked. And for the next few days, I’m going to help you prepare to share YOUR story… and help every one of us with a Congenital Heart Defect.

Because a Congenital Heart Defect is an “invisible disability.” In, fact, if you type the letters CHD into a search engine, most of the results will involved that other CHD – Coronary Heart Disease. The average guy on the street will never know we have one… and neither will our lawmakers. We’re an unseen group. If the population of the United States is roughly three hundred million, (305,787,407 estimated as of this writing) then there should be two and a half million people with a heart defect living in the US right now. That’s a pretty large group of people! But since we’re “invisible”, we’re often overlooked.

If we want better funding for research or insurance that is easier to obtain, we’ve got to get out there and let people know about life with a heart defect. Quell some rumors and disprove some misunderstandings. We aren’t just sitting around, waiting to die. We’re out living our lives, contributing to society, and all we want is a fair chance to keep on keepin’ on.

To get that chance, we’ve got to speak up. If you are interested in telling your story, I’ll be glad to help you tell it.

Heather’s story will be posted about 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time Tuesday, December 2, 2008. Be here!

“I do what I do to defeat the evil that is inside of me.” — Lamont Cranston, The Shadow… and often borrowed by Steve, The Funky Heart

Let’s give them something to talk about…

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! Things are quiet around the Heart household; the family meal was delicious and the Christmas Tree has been raised. I’m just being good, because Santa Claus is watching!

Actually, I’m thinking about being bad at Christmas. The lump of coal that Santa will drop in my stocking could be very useful if the price of oil goes back up!

For your reading pleasure tonight is a study done in Western Canada. Heart Parents are true heroes! But we knew that already… Just in case you haven’t figured it out just yet, i think that my Heart Mom and Heart Dad are true champs! I’m thankful for them on this special day (and every day).

Here’s an eight page .pdf file on cardiac catherization, written in simple English. It’s aimed at children, so if your Cardiac Kid has to have a cath, it would be good to go over this with him/her.

And here’s an eight page booklet (also a .pdf file) explaining some of the specialized “heart words” we use from time to time.

An Adventures of a Funky Heart post has been selected by “Surgexperiences”! Surgexperiences is a weekly roundup of posts from surgical blogs. It’s hosted on a different blog each week, and this time it appears at The Scalpel is Mightier than the Sword…

You may remember Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) member Heather Magee from her appearance on the TV show How to Look Good Naked. Next week, Heather is going to step in for me one day and tell you the story about telling her story. Hopefully Heather can help you tell the story you know best: “the story of you”.

And remember, Saturday is the 64th anniversary of the Blalock-Taussig Shunt! CHD surviviors are going to mark the occasion by wearing Red and Blue!

EVERY heart…

September 10, 2008

Did you watch How to Look Good Naked Tuesday night? I did, and was even more proud of my friend Heather. She’s every bit the fantastic young lady that you saw on TV.

Heather was born with Tricuspid Atresia, the same heart defect that I have. I met her when we both attended the Adult Congenital Heart Association’s (ACHA) National Conference this past May, and it seemed as if every time I saw her she was holding a video camera. She’s responsible for filming and editing the two ACHA videos you may have already seen. She even danced at the gala with the camera, filming the crowd! (I haven’t seen that film yet, but I’d love to. Adult Congenital Heart Defect patients know how to get their groove on!)

ACHA membership is open to any adult with a heart defect, and membership is FREE for those with a CHD. Join the group, get involved in our message boards, and trade information with others who share your experiences. Attend our national events, and plan to join us on Lobby Day 2009. Some of our larger local groups have monthly meetings and hold public events.

If you were inspired or brought to tears by¬† Heather’s story, I invite you to Join the Adult Congenital Heart Association. Get involved with a fun group of people, work to improve the lives of all of us with Heart Defects, and learn more about your heart health than you ever have before.

Because “Every heart deserves to live a lifetime.”

The Mark of a Warrior

September 6, 2008

Here’s an article appeared today in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about Heather Magee, who will appear on How to Look Good Naked this week. I met Heather at the Adult Congenital Heart Association‘s National Conference held in Philadelphia this past May.

Heather’s not a celebrity. (Well… not yet!) Nor is she a “Compensated Spokesperson.” She doesn’t appear on behalf of the ACHA. She’s got a heart defect, just like I do. In fact, she has the same heart defect, Tricuspid Atresia. She’s had the Fontan Procedure, but I haven’t. (I was scheduled to have the Fontan and was actually on the table, but bleeding from torn scar tissue got out of control and the operation was canceled.) So her story rings true and her opinion carries a lot of weight with me.

There was a large gala at the ACHA convention on the final night, and a lot of the attendees were dressed formally. The women were beautiful and the guys were handsome! (Most of us were handsome, I was just less clumsy! I considered it a personal victory not to spill the soup in someone’s lap or wind up face first in the punchbowl!) A lot of the young ladies were wearing dresses that showed their surgical scars and, in some cases, pacer scars. I found myself wondering if this was a new experience, if perhaps this was the first time some of them had worn their beautiful clothes and not been asked “Where did that scar come from?” Physical imperfection must be so much harder on a woman; ladies’ dress clothes reveal much more skin than a man’s, and society demands that you look perfect. And because we, as a society, judge on appearance rather than on substance, someone as beautiful as Heather “hated her scars.”

Heather’s episode of How to Look Good Naked will be on Lifetime TV Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 10 PM Eastern. Check your local listings for your area. Use Heather’s example to show your CHD children that a scar is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather a mark of victory in a lifelong battle.

How to Look Good with a CHD!

August 9, 2008

A big round of applause for my friend Heather!

Heather is a young lady that I met at the Adult Congenital Heart Association‘s (ACHA) convention in Philadelphia at the beginning of May. After returning home, Heather noticed an advertisement stating that Lifetime Television was recruiting participants for a makeover show featuring women with heart disease.

Something about this rubbed Heather the wrong way. From the wording of the ad, she (correctly) surmised that the show assumed that those with “heart disease” would be all older women who were suffering the effects of acquired heart disease… the problems that arise from clogged arteries, high cholesterol, and general aging. Heather decided to go to the audition and prove to everyone there that heart disease wasn’t just caused by bad habits and aging; you could be born with it, too. (There is a debate about the differences in the word disease and defect, and the mental image each brings to mind. I’ll discuss this with you in a later post.) And so that is what she did!

Heather is a smart, articulate young lady. She made her point so well that she landed a spot on the show! I’ve tried to be intentionally vague until now, but here’s the big news: Heather will appear on How to Look Good Naked with host Carson Kressley!

Heather and Carson Kressley

Heather and Carson Kressley

And if that wasn’t enough, the How to Look Good Naked producers asked Heather to come in for one final day of shooting… and surprised her with a charity fundraiser to support the ACHA and UCLA!

She was featured in a fashion show (all the models in the show were women with a CHD, and dressed to the max in Hugo Boss gowns!) and Heather was “loaned” a ONE MILLION DOLLAR NECKLACE to wear during the show. Unfortunately, they didn’t let her keep the necklace. But they did give her a little something….

Carson presents Heather with a $10,000 check!

Carson presents Heather with a $10,000 check!

… a check made out to the ACHA for $10,000!

So, this is a classic win-win situation. The ACHA now has a few friends in the TV industry, How to Look Good Naked has a wonderful young lady as a subject, and Heather has a chance to enlighten people about CHD’s. I know she’ll be a great spokesperson.

Way to go, Heather!