Painting in her studio in Artmongerz Gallery in Greensboro, Jacalyn Romano, did not have a specific direction in mind. Rich yellow and red acrylics over plaster lines and swirls turned into a sun’s light reaching into deeper blue and burnt sienna hues.
Then Jackie experienced the worst pain in her life. “A fire struck the center of my chest and I just couldn’t stop screaming,” she describes.She was taken to Moses Cone Memorial Hospital, where she was told she was having a heart attack. Dr. Thomas Wall, now her friend for life, realized how dire her situation was and acted fast. On July 13, 2010, Jackie had a triple bypass and heart valve repair.
“I still had paint under my nails,” remembers Jackie. “My sister, Rebecca, helped me clean them at the hospital.” The painting she was working on took on a new meaning for her.When completed, she entitled it “Just a Heart Beat Away.” To her, the sun now represents a second chance. Since her heart attack, Jackie has stopped smoking and is managing her type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol with good nutrition and exercise. This experience inspired her to create a new series of artwork, entitled “Matters of the Heart.”
Jackie is proud to share her studio space with other artists in what she refers to as “The Gallery that Gives.” Jackie donated one of her works to the 2011 Guilford Heart Ball and other artists from the gallery are joining her.
“If I could send a message to women in Guilford County, it would be to take care of yourselves even through times of turmoil, listen to your body and don’t let your fear of hearing bad news keep you from seeing your doctor and possibly heading off heart disease,” shares Jackie.
February is American Heart Month and Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s nationwide initiative fighting heart disease in women, the #1 killer of women in North Carolina and the U.S.