Heart disease, and more broadly cardiovascular disease, can affect women of all ages and can take many forms. Marina’s health issue was triggered by a combination of an underlying genetic blood clotting condition and taking the oral contraceptive pill.
“It was in 2009 at the age of 23, when I first became aware that something was wrong. What started as months of breathlessness and struggling to walk up the stairs developed into fatigue and feeling generally unwell,” Marina said.
“I was told I had a chest infection and that I’d be better soon, but my symptoms continued. Weeks later, I woke with excruciating pain in my chest,” she added.
Marina went straight to hospital and was found to have multiple blood clots in her lungs. After 6 months of taking daily blood thinners, she was given the all clear, but a few months later her condition returned and she now be on medication for the rest of her life.
Fast forward six years and Marina is still taking her medication daily, has not had any further blood clotting, and now she feels like she wants to raise awareness to help other women.
Heart Foundation CEO Kerry Doyle said she was delighted that Marina had reached out to the Heart Foundation to share her story and to become actively involved.
“What has developed from that initial contact has become so much more – Marina is now an integral member of our Women and Heart Disease working group, injecting her ideas, energy and talent to help make other women aware of the risk factors, warning signs, symptoms and proactive prevention related to heart disease. Marina is living proof that heart disease takes many forms and that this is a condition which can impact women of all ages, including younger women. ” she said.
Marina said that the necklace, entitled From the Heart, was inspired by the ideas of connection, support and balance – three things that helped her go from struggle to strength in her own personal health journey.
“With this necklace, I hope to start a conversation and educate women about the importance of their own heart health,” she said.
“I live with my illness under control and for that I am grateful, every day. I am healthy, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. If however I can help stop one other young woman from experiencing heart related illness, I will be eternally happy.”
“Finally, I hope that this necklace brings light and positivity to those that have been personally touched by cardiovascular disease,” she added.
The pendant is made up of two tear shaped halves, which overlap and come together to form a sculptural shape resembling a heart. Made in Marina’s Sydney studio and available in sterling silver, 9 carat rose gold, yellow gold and white gold, each pendant is given a soft, satin finish by hand.
The necklace can be purchased online at www.marinaantoniou.com and www.courtesyoftheartist.com.au with a percentage of the sale going to the National Heart Foundation’s Women and Heart Disease campaign.