UT golf coach to share personal heart health story at Go Red for Women Luncheon

November 10, 2015 | Events, UTMC
By Brandi Barhite

UT Women’s Golf Head Coach Nicole Hollingsworth was feeling great in the days leading up to calling 911 and being rushed to the hospital last summer. She had walked the LPGA qualifier on Monday and felt fine. On Tuesday, she jogged 2 miles. On Wednesday, she swam 130 laps.

However, by Wednesday afternoon, the 43-year-old wasn’t feeling well. She thought it was something she had eaten. She had diarrhea and felt dizzy. She had just bought a Fitbit a few days beforehand and noticed that her pulse was just 56. Normally, it was 86.

UT Women’s Golf Coach Nicole Hollingsworth regularly hits the treadmill in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at UT Medical Center.

UT Women’s Golf Coach Nicole Hollingsworth regularly hits the treadmill in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at UT Medical Center.

“I called 911 and told them to break down my door because I didn’t think I would make it to the door,” Hollingsworth said. “I got in the shower with my clothes on because I was burning up. I started throwing up.”

When the paramedics arrived, they told her she might be having a heart problem. They were right. As it turned out, she had an ulcerated plaque that needed stented, and she needed long-term anti-platelet medication.

Hollingsworth will tell more of her story as the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Go Red for Women Luncheon Friday, Nov. 13, at noon at Parkway Place in Maumee. She will talk about how losing 73 pounds before that fateful day in July helped save her life.

“I was paying more attention to my health by eating a diet high in protein and low in carbs in the months before my heart episode,” she said. “That saved my life. Plus, I had great medical care at The University of Toledo Medical Center.”

UT Health cardiologists Dr. Jodi Tinkel and Dr. Laura Murphy are the co-chairwomen of this year’s luncheon. Individual tickets are $100 each. Tables are $1,000 each.

“Eighty cents of every dollar we raise goes back to the community in the form of research and education,” said Allyson France, executive director of the Northwest Ohio American Heart Association.

Murphy, who assisted in Hollingsworth’s care, said heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths annually. Women must be vigilant about their heart health because they experience different symptoms from men, in particular for heart attacks and coronary artery disease.

“They might suffer from nausea, back pain or fatigue, which on the surface aren’t that shocking or concerning,” Murphy said. “Women might also break out into a sweat without any chest pain.”

Murphy said regular exercise and healthy eating are crucial for heart health, although genetics do play a role. Hollingsworth’s father had a quadruple bypass in his late 50s, but she did not have high blood pressure.

“I was atypical, which shows that anyone can experience a heart episode,” Hollingsworth said. “You can’t rule it out just because you are young and in relatively good health.

“I am now in cardiac rehab three times per week and still coaching and doing my job,” she said. “I feel very fortunate and blessed.”

The luncheon will include a health and wellness fair from 11 a.m. to noon. The event also will feature motivational humorist Kay Frances.

“I believe that humor is at the ‘heart’ of it all,” Frances said. “A light heart is a happy heart, and a happy heart is a healthy heart.”

To purchase tickets, contact France at 419.350.5819 or allyson.france@heart.org.

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