For Mary Jo, an invitation to participate in her company’s WebMD Health Services team steps challenge came along at just the right time. After a surprise heart attack, the challenge was exactly what she needed to make some long-term lifestyle changes. Read on for Mary Jo’s inspiring story…
On a Tuesday night in September 2018, Mary Jo was at home after work, making dinner for her family, when she suffered a heart attack. One of her arteries was 100% blocked, requiring an emergency catheterization to insert a stent.
“My heart attack was not what I thought a heart attack would be,” she says. “I just had a heavy feeling in my chest, no real pain. I was very lucky that my husband thought to call the paramedics. If he had not, I would not be here.”
A few months later, Mary Jo had just finished her cardiac rehab and listened as her cardiologist advised her to take at least 5,000 steps a day. Just then, an email popped up in her inbox. It was an invitation from Jen Yates, the health promotion coordinator at SummaCare, to join The Invitational Team Steps Challenge. The timing was perfect. (See SummaCare and WebMD: Bringing Employees Closer Together One Step at a Time (part 1)).
She joined a team with four of her coworkers, who held each other accountable during the five-week challenge. “I had one teammate, Dawne, who consistently checked on the entire team every day, asking if we entered our steps, keeping us informed of where we were with our competitors and just encouraging us every day.”
Mary Jo didn’t stop when The Invitational ended. She rescued a puppy to be her walking partner at home, changed her eating habits to eliminate red meat and fried foods, and made a renewed commitment to Weight Watchers. The hard work has paid off: she’s lost 15 pounds since the challenge began.
She credits The Invitational with helping her to make healthy long-term changes to her lifestyle. “Exercise has to be a part of my daily routine.”
“I am very motivated to make life changes so I can stay on this earth for a few more years,” she says. “I am much more conscious now about my eating habits, exercise and overall health.”
Her words of advice about heart disease? “Listen to your body!” Mary Jo says she ignored some warning signs, like fatigue and shortness of breath, prior to her heart attack. “The reality was my body was telling me something was wrong. Talk to your doctor, tell him or her all of your symptoms and take care of your body.”
Are you a WebMD Health Services client with great success stories like Mary Jo’s? If so, we’d be happy to feature them on our blog. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.