Cindy Parsons is one woman who has made a commitment to protecting her heart. In the process, she has inspired awe, hope, and pride among many. Her story begins as the owner of a dress shop—the Trink-et Shoppe—in northeastern Connecticut. She began working in the shop at age 13 when it belonged to her parents. Last year, the Trink-et Shoppe became an important community partner in a local heart health campaign. It was there that many women found their crowning reward—a beautiful red dress—to celebrate their triumph in achieving a heart healthier lifestyle.
Cindy joined these women as part of Follow the Fifty: Models of Heart Health, a program funded through The Heart Truth® Community Action Program, knowing that her personal risk factors for heart disease, including family history, were high. She watched her mother pass away from heart disease in 2010. Over the years, Cindy steadily watched her weight and risk factors for heart disease increase. Follow the Fifty provided the perfect opportunity for her to become a true role model of heart health … and that she did.
In February 2012, she recruited her daughter Stacy to join the program, too, and together they pledged to become models of heart health for themselves, for their loved ones, and for their community. In just 9 months, Cindy transformed her health. She lost 77 pounds, lowered her body mass index by 11 points, and decreased her blood pressure from 128/82 to 110/72. The Follow the Fifty pledge she took has become an oath for life.
"My greatest surprise is that the Follow the Fifty 'sisterhood' was real," says Cindy. "We were always there for each other—lifting, cheering, motivating, inspiring one another to keep going, and celebrating every success, large or small. Even today, we are taking what we learned, and we keep spreading the message with pride. We started as one person trying to get heart healthy and somehow transformed our community along the way.
"The FTF pledge we took for the campaign slowly became an oath for life: 'I am a model of heart health. I pledge to honor my body, mind, and spirit; and promise to live my life in a way that will inspire others to follow my example.' We said it. We lived it … and here we are."
On February 6, 2013, Cindy Parsons walked the runway at The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show in New York. She participated in the event to honor her body, mind, and spirit, and as a promise to live her life in a way that will inspire others to follow her example.