NORFOLK, Va. - News 3 This Morning’s Jessica Larche is teaming up with the Hampton Roads chapter of the American Heart Association to save lives with their Women of Impact effort.
Jessica is representing Norfolk in the friendly competition to spread heart health information. Each of the seven cities of Hampton Roads is represented by a woman who has either overcome heart disease or stroke, or turned their lives around to prevent it – and that’s where Jessica’s story comes in.
Back in 2012, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure at just 27 years old. As she’s shared on News 3, she had a history of binge eating to self-medicate for anxiety. She said it all caught up with her just a year after her Dad died from obesity and diabetes complications. Faced with her own high blood pressure diagnosis, she learned it was a contributing factor to heart disease.
“It was a huge wake up call,” she said. “I felt my Dad’s spirit from heaven urging me to break the generational chains and chart a new path.”
Over the course of several years, Jessica lost 100 pounds by eating better, exercising more and going to therapy. Her journey was featured on the cover of Women’s Day magazine in 2016.
“I’ve been on a mission for years to help encourage and inspire others to take action for their health – and save their own lives,” said Jessica. “So this effort by our local American Heart Association is a perfect fit.”
The Women of Impact effort is focused on sharing information to help women make better decisions that will keep them heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the number one killer of women, but 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented by eating better and exercising more.
Over the next several weeks, Jessica will be intentional about sharing nutrition, exercise and mental health information to keep your heart healthy. Join her on the journey and use the hashtag #hearthealthyon3 on social media. We just may share your journey on News 3!
Here are the other nominees participating with Jessica Larche:
City of Portsmouth – Avanti Allen-Benson, Population Health Manager with the Portsmouth Health Department. Support her by clicking here.
City of Newport News – Teri Ackerson, stroke survivor, Stroke Coordinator at Sentara CarePlex, national spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Support her by clicking here.
City of Chesapeake – Tamika Quinn, two-time Stroke Survivor, Author, Veteran, motivational speaker and owner of G.L.A.M. Girl, Giving Life and Motivation™, national spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Support her by clicking here.
City of Virginia Beach – Shannon Hunnicutt, multiple stroke survivor, Director of Call Center Operations for Sentara Healthcare for 12 years. Motivational Speaker, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Advocate, AHA Volunteer Survivor Impact Award (2016), AHA Lifestyle Change Award Winner (2016), R. Bryan Grinnan M.D. Memorial Award Nominee (2020). Support her by clicking here.
City of Hampton – Sierra Williams-McLeod, Senior Biochemistry major and Spanish minor at Hampton University. Sierra also serves as co-founder and co-President of Hampton University Pirate Pantry, an on-campus pantry that provides food and essential items to students at no cost. co-founder and co-President of Hampton University Pirate Pantry, an on-campus pantry that provides food and essential items to students at no cost. Support her by clicking here.
City of Suffolk – Chef Dedra Blount is the lead chef for American Heart Association’s mobile kitchen for Hampton Roads. She has been a culinary educator for over 28 years, teaching at the high school and collegiate level.
Chef Dedra Brabson wanted to share her passion for cooking and with her twin sister, they opened Now You’re Cooking Culinary Studio. She is a cofounder and culinary educator. Dedra is also an advocate for special needs children and adults and enjoys teaching them new cooking skills. Support them by clicking here.