Siouxland woman fights not only for Mrs. Iowa title but for heart disease
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Iowa, affecting one out of every three adults.
However, one Siouxland woman is trying to lighten up that statistic, and she has even gone as far as entering a beauty pageant and making the American Heart Association her platform.
While the Spencer native did win the title of Mrs. Iowa in September, the fight has just begun to educate others about importance of knowing the facts about heart disease.
Val Whitehead is a wife, mother of three, a nurse and now the reining 2009 Mrs. Iowa.
"If you would've asked me a year ago if I would've seen myself doing this, I would've probably laughed," said Val Whitehead, Mrs. Iowa.
However, now her title of Mrs. Iowa is more than a laughing matter, it's become her passion. And, she's using that passion to help in the prevention of the thing that kills many Americans every year, heart disease.
"We forget that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, and statistically Iowa follows the national trend. So, it is the number one killer. And, I think we get so busy taking care of everybody else that we forget about those things," said Whitehead.
It's not just being a nurse that has given her an up close look at the disease.
"We definitely have a family history on both sides," said Mrs. Iowa.
After her mother and father in-law dying of heart disease in their 60's, her sister in-law having her 2nd heart attack at 44, her mother going through her heart surgery and her husband having high cholesterol, you can say Val has a strong connection to her platform. From that firsthand experience, she thought a beauty pageant might help her to education others about the importance of doing the little things in order to be heart-healthy.
"I really felt like it's not just about can I walk in an evening gown on stage. It's more about what can I do to make a difference in somebody's life," said Whitehead.
With only a couple months under her belt, she's enjoyed her time so far.
"It's really been a positive experience and I'm glad I did it. I was nervous of what I was getting in to, but I think someday I'll look back and think this is was a really great year," said Whitehead.
Val Whitehead will compete in the nation pageant for the title of Mrs. International this summer in Chicago.