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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Medicine alumna helps launch Go Red race for women’s heart health

Jan. 22, 2014
By Allyson Bird
Office of Development and Alumni Affairs

Dr. Marian H. Taylor remembers the day a young cytogenetics technician named Stephanie Carter contacted her, asking if Taylor would help start a race in memory of Carter’s mother, who died from a heart attack at age 47.

“She sent me letter explaining what she wanted to do and how important her mom had been to her,” said Dr. Taylor, a cardiologist with a passion for women’s heart health. “I couldn’t imagine not helping her try to do this.”

Stephanie Carter (left) and Dr. Marian Taylor organize the annual Go Red Heart 5K Run and Walk in memory of Robin Seay.

The two women shared an interest in running and a calling to educate people about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. The rest, they decided, they would figure out as they went along, including U.S. Track & Field certifications, town permits, sponsorships and volunteers. That one letter exchanged between strangers launched the Go Red Heart 5K Run and Walk in memory of Robin Seay which, on Feb. 1, will mark its fourth year.

“I can't overstate my appreciation for Dr. Taylor,” Carter said. “She put in a lot of time, time that I know she doesn’t have, to make my dream for this event a reality.” 

Dr. Taylor handles everything from hiring emergency staff to filling race bags to handling packet pick-up. “We hear so much about breast cancer, but so many more women die from heart disease than breast cancer,” Dr. Taylor said. “I thought, if we could have a successful run and walk, we could show women that they can have fun when they exercise.”

Dr. Taylor grew up in Puerto Rico, but her mother was born in Lake City, and her uncle, an MUSC alumnus, practiced gynecology in Greenville. Dr. Taylor aspired to become a social worker at an orphanage, but her father told her he would only pay for medical school or law school.

“My brother is a lawyer,” she said. “But because I’m horrible at confrontation, I went to medical school.” She graduated from the MUSC College of Medicine in 1994.

Dr. Taylor discovered her dedication to heart health while completing a fellowship in rheumatology and researching the connection between scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease, and heart disease. Over the years, Dr. Taylor also realized how women often put themselves last, making time for cooking, cleaning and caring for their families at the expense of their own health. “I tell them, if they don’t have time for exercise, they’re going to have to find time for disease, because it’s going to catch up with them,” she said.

Dr. Taylor hopes this year’s race will draw the most runners and volunteers yet, with proceeds benefitting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign and the MUSC’s Women’s Heart Care Program.

The 2014 Go Red Heart 5K Run and Walk in memory of Robin Seay takes place Feb. 1 at the Charleston Harbor Resort in Mount Pleasant. Registration is $35 through Jan. 31 and $40 the day of the race. For more information, please visit www.muschealth.com/goredrun.


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