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Mother's memory honored with Go Red Heart Run

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
In hindsight, Stephanie Carter can see the signs that led to her mother’s premature death at 47 from a heart attack.

So many things are clearer, in hindsight.

Stephanie Carter (right) with her mother, Robin Seay.

Carter hopes to change that story for other women who may be following in her mother’s footsteps, which is why she has devoted hours to organizing the first Go Red Heart 5K Run and Walk on Feb. 12 in Mount Pleasant in honor of her mother, Robin Seay.

The medical technologist specializes in cytogenetics, figuring out the chromosomal puzzles that lead to various diseases and conditions. After her mother’s death in 2007, she turned her investigative skills to the events that led up to her mother’s loss that left her reeling and suffering from panic attacks.

What she found was a family history of females who died young of heart disease on her mother’s side. That genetic history combined with some of her mother’s lifestyle habits, such as lack of exercise and a poor diet, contributed to her mother’s death.

Carter decided to break that chain. She stopped eating fast food and began exercising and dealing with her life stresses in better ways. To honor her mother, she began participating in the Lowcountry Heart Walk each year, becoming the team captain of MUSC Laboratory Services last year. Then she began running, but was disappointed to learn that there was no local 5K race for the American Heart Association.

She decided to change that, and after many meetings and planning sessions, is excited to be part of a team that is making the race an annual event.

“I didn’t want mom’s death to be in vain. It’s like a big present to my mom indirectly, and it’ll help spread the word to more women.”

Carter said she had no idea how many women heart disease affects. More than one in three adult females has cardiovascular disease, and many don’t know it.

“In honor of my mom, I will not be silent about this silent killer. I want others to know they have the power and ability to improve their heart health. While we can’t choose our family history or our genes, we can choose to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle by eating a heart healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco products, and getting regular health screenings to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood sugar levels.”

Her workouts and runs have given Carter a healthy outlet to process her grief, she said. She uses the time to review favorite memories, such as when her mother and father drove up into her yard with motorcycles and proceeded to teach her and her husband how to ride. Her mother was a caretaker to the detriment of her own health, a problem area for many women.

“Everyone else was ahead of herself. It was one quality I loved about her. We were best friends—even when I was growing up. Life events got in the way of her taking care of herself.”

Carter hopes to pass her hard-earned lessons on to other mother-daughters, who want to have more time to enjoy together. In the meantime, she’ll be tying up her running shoes and logging miles for her mom. “I’m doing something to keep her memory alive. I feel as if I’m channeling her loss into a positive outlet. It’s what she’d want me to do.”

For information on the5K run & Walk, visit

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011

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