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Heart Fund close to heart of hairstylist

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By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post

Trisha McCarter has personal reasons to support the American Heart Association.

She’s lost her father and two of her brothers to heart disease.

“If what I give saves one sister, one mama, one daughter from having to go through what we have, then it’s worth it,” McCarter said in an interview at Hair Unlimited where she works as a cosmetologist.

Last year she donated half of all she made on one Saturday to the Heart Fund, by sponsoring her daughter’s efforts to raise money for the Byars Dowdy Jump Rope for Heart event.

This year she giving half of everything she takes in on three Saturday mornings in February.

By Saturday, Feb. 7 at noon, she had raised $98. Now she has two of her daughters who attend Lebanon High School selling Heart Fund hearts at school.

She is selling the hearts at the shop on Bay Court and accepting contributions there as well any day until Thursday, Feb 26. “I have to turn the money in on Feb 27,” she said.

And giving half of everything she takes in on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 21, between 9 a.m.-noon.

“But if someone wants to make an appointment at some other time, if they will call the shop and say it’s for the heart fund, I’ll still give half, or they can just give a contribution,” McCarter said.

McCarter's family has faced the heartbreak of being seriously handicapped by heart disease repeatedly.

First, about the time she was born, her brother, Johnny Loftis, was diagnosed at 15 with a cholesterol count of more than 900, according to McCarter's mother, Betty Craigmile.

“He was a skinny little boy and we never guessed there was a problem,” she said. “But then he started having warts, great big warts on his hand and all over, even on his tail bone. We took him to the doctor and they found his cholesterol was over 900.”

The family was told there was very little to be done for the rare condition that caused the problem. While he lived, he was a patient at Vanderbilt Hospital Heart Unit. They tried a number of treatments without much result, McCarter said.

“They took the fat out of his blood by renal pheresis,” his mother said. It’s a process somewhat like dialysis used for kidney patients. “He’d feel pretty good for a couple of weeks and then it would all come back.”

Loftis was only 36 when he died in 1993, but he outlived his father.

“My Daddy died when I was 5,” McCarter said, brushing away a tear at the memory.

When he was stricken, McCarter said she heard him call her mother’s name, but she got to him first. When her mother got there, she was able to do cardio pulmonary resuscitation and get him breathing again, but he died later at the hospital. The year was 1978 and the defibrillator that saves lives now wasn’t available then.

And in 2003, the loss of a second brother, Dennis Loftis, added to McCarter's distress, so now she’s doing something about it.

“I just hope what I’m doing will help so my daughters won’t have to go through what I did,” she said.

Anyone who wants to help can call McCheek at 443-3278, or (615) 586-5474, or stop by Hair Unlimited on Bay Court, or mail a check made out to the American Heart Association to Hair for Heart, C/O Hair Unlimited, 107A Bay Court, Lebanon, TN

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

CORRECTION: An article in the Feb. 13 edition of The Wilson Post incorrectly identified local cosmetologist Trisha McCarter, as Trisha McCheek. McCarter, who works at Hair Unlimited, is giving half of her earnings on Feb. 21 to the American Heart Association, and she is accepting contributions to the AMA as well. Her cell phone number is (615) 586-5074. The Post apologizes for the error and is happy to set the record straight.
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