Tampa Bay Buccaneers

From the Heart

The loss of his mother to a heart attack a year ago has prompted Anthony McFarland to aggressively take up the cause of the American Heart Association through a trio of programs

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DT Anthony McFarland will help keep the American Heart Association moving forward in its fight against heart disease

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Anthony "Booger" McFarland may have found a small silver lining on the cloud that has been hovering over him and his family since the death of his mother a little over a year ago. As a result, some other families may be saved from the same heartbreak.

While McFarland was hard at work during the Bucs' 2005 training camp in Orlando, Nancey Faye McFarland passed away at the age of 50 due to a heart attack. Now, McFarland is on a newfound mission to keep others from losing their own loved ones.

McFarland, in partnership with the American Heart Association, seeks to educate the community on how to prevent cardiovascular disease and to raise funds to further the cause.

"I've been affected personally by my mom having a heart attack," McFarland said. "I know how I felt when I lost a very important woman in my life. This is an opportunity for me to help in the area in which a lot of women are affected."

Specifically, McFarland and the American Heart Association will engage on three key initiatives, including "Go Red For Women," "Power To End Stroke" and "Heart-A-Sacks."

Go Red For Women empowers women with knowledge and tools so they can take positive action to reduce their risks of heart disease and protect their health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and the Go Red For Women Luncheon, scheduled for May 2007, is the association's anchor fundraising event for helping women learn how to live longer and stronger.

Power To End Stroke is a grassroots movement to educate and motivate African Americans to reduce their risk of stroke. The burden of stroke is greater among African Americans than any other group. In fact, African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites, and African Americans 35–54 years old have four times the relative risk for stroke.

Heart-A-Sacks is a program that was created specifically for McFarland's involvement with the American Heart Association. McFarland has pledged to donate $1,000 to the 2007 Go Red For Women Luncheon for every sack made during the 2006 season.

"To try to keep those loved ones around in your life a little bit longer, to know that there are things that can be done and to know that there are signs you can pay attention to, there's so much information about that," said McFarland. "My only hope is to be a platform to let that information bounce off me, and hopefully it will reach a lot of people."

By serving as a spokesperson for both Go Red For Women and Power To End Stroke and raising funds and additional awareness for the American Heart Association through Heart-A-Sacks, McFarland will lead the charge to save lives from heart disease and stroke within the Tampa Bay community. It is an outstanding way to pay tribute to the memory of Nancey Faye McFarland and help other husbands, sons and daughters avoid losing the women they love.

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