When I was offered the opportunity to be a digital ambassador for the Diet Coke & The Heart Truth® campaign for the second year in a row, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. In fact, my experience with the campaign last year was a year of many firsts for me. It was the first time I shared with my readers & followers the meaning behind the #ShowYourHeart Contest. It was the first time I participated in National Wear Red Day. It was also the first time I attended The Red Dress Collection show. Those moments will always have a special place in my life because I was a part of a campaign that raised heart health awareness for women across the nation.
In addition to those wonderful experiences, I was truly honored to be the fashion stylist for last year’s Diet Coke #ShowYourHeart contest winner. The winner & I had a fabulous time shopping at one of largest vintage stores on the East Coast, located in the heart of Manhattan (check out the video here). It’s no surprise that fans of Diet Coke are incredibly stylish, so I knew shopping with the #ShowYourHeart winner meant that I had to find a fabulous spot that fit his style perfectly. After our shopping session, I asked the winner if I could see the photo that ultimately won him the grand prize.
It was incredible.
His photo captured a specific moment in his life that proved a picture is worth a thousand words. This year, fans & supporters of The Heart Truth® campaign have shared their heart-inspired pictures through their Instagram & Twitter accounts for the #ShowYourHeart contest, with photos that were just as incredible. Diet Coke understands the impact & importance of embracing social media for a great cause.
Inviting people to express themselves through personal pictures is one of the most effective ways to create awareness in our digital 2.0 world.
Part of the Diet Coke digital ambassador experience was the opportunity to attend The Heart Truth® Red Dress CollectionSM fashion show. While I covered backstage celebrity makeup & hair, I had the opportunity to interview Minka Kelly, who has been Diet Coke’s brand ambassador for the past two years. Minka was kind, graceful and appreciative of the honor. I’m sure she along with everyone else, could feel how intoxicating the fashion was but even more so, the spirit of the campaign.
As a NYC lifestyle blogger based in Midtown Manhattan (my blog is Midtown Girl), I have met women from all over the country through social media. Many of the them shared stories so compelling, it almost felt like any past adversity I had experienced was inconsequential.
While working with the Diet Coke & The Heart Truth® Campaign, I was told one of these compelling stories.
Chicago-based fashion blogger Raijean Stroud is a woman I had known virtually for quite some time. We had the chance to meet face to face for the first time backstage at the Red Dress CollectionSM fashion show. We exchanged our excitement, personal adoration and honor of being at the show while catching up on the latest & greatest in the fashion blogger world.
Then she told me something that truly touched me.
Raijean had discovered at 28 years old that she had heart disease. She told me how she had missed all of the symptoms and that her ignorance almost cost her life. I asked her how she found out she had heart disease.
“I was having trouble breathing, doing everyday things. I would feel extremely exhausted, until one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m fine now, I take medicine daily and I have a dual defibrillator. I have my days when I don’t feel my best but for the most part I’m well.”
Raijean is younger than me.
I was in shock, in awe and felt like there was an even greater meaning for being a part of Diet Coke’s support of The Heart Truth® campaign. I had believed that heart disease was something targeted for a specific age range. But in reality, heart health is important for all of us, regardless of age.
In all honesty, I didn’t even know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women until I participated in National Wear Red Day for the first time last year. Designated as the first Friday of February, National Wear Red Day is an opportunity for women around the world to show their support.
It is for this reason that The Heart Truth® Campaign is so important. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has supported this effort for eleven years to remind us that we need to protect our heart health and to take action when needed. I’m thrilled to be working with Diet Coke to bring awareness to this important initiative.
Be aware of your heart health dolls. It could save your life.
Amy Chandra is the Editor-In-Chief of MidtownGirl.com, a NYC fashion & lifestyle blog based in Midtown Manhattan. She is also founder of Manhattan Social Media, an agency focused on connecting entertainment, celebrity & pop culture bloggers with network & cable television brands.