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One Woman's Story

We Cry for Noreen

Picture of Noreen Daly Carson   

Noreen Daly Carlson on her wedding day
and with her son, Ryan

Our beloved daughter died from an undetected heart attack on Halloween Day 1999 while shopping for a party she and her husband were giving for forty friends and family, and oh...how she loved Halloween, her favorite holiday, always celebrating with such fanfare.

The mother of Sarah, then 6, and Ryan, 8, Noreen lived an active, healthy, lifestyle. Going back a few months prior to her death, she complained of unusual fatigue, and dizzy spells. A short time later, Noreen collapsed, unconscious, while visiting her father in a nearby hospital following routine hernia surgery. She was kept in the Emergency Room for two hours and diagnosed as having an anxiety attack and also premenopausal. A visit to a psychiatrist was recommended and, following the advice of the physicians, she did just that.

After several days of taking prescribed medication, her symptoms remained the same. In a phone conversation, she told us that anxiety wasn’t the problem. It just wasn’t “her”.

Our Halloween Party turned into a tragedy when we lost our loving Noreen a few weeks later. Through an autopsy we learned that Noreen succumbed to a heart attack.

How different her symptoms were; how fatal they became. And, the sadness that overcame our family, our lives have changed forever.

What do we remember about Noreen? Her great sense of humor and her smiling face and even more, her love and caring for others, for Noreen was also an organ donor and approximately fifteen people were helped by her kindness.

We ask ourselves, “How could this have happened? Why weren’t we aware that women’s symptoms were different?” Our answer was finding the Women’s Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding ways to get women to listen to their hearts.

– Dolores and Phil Daly

The Gender Care Initiative

Mr. and Mrs. Daly helped WHF launch its Gender Care InitiativeTM at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick during National Women's Heart Week 2004 commemorative ceremonies.

Marathon for Noreen

Picture of Tom Daly crossing finish line at the 2002 Chicago Marathon

Tom Daly of Massachusetts, Noreen's youngest brother, ran in the Chicago Marathon (26-miles) in 2002 to raise money for the Women's Heart Foundation. Together with mom Dolores and other family members, a total of $11,000 was raised through sponsors at $1 per mile or more. Tom finished the race and here he is crossing the finish line!

Picture of Tom Daly with Team Noreen runners and Tom's family and friends at the 2003 USMC marathon in Washington, DC

Riding on the success of his very first marathon, the following year Tom organized a team of marathon runners to race in the US Marine Corps (USMC) Marathon in Washington, D.C. TEAM NOREEN FOR WOMEN'S HEART FOUNDATION included all of Tom's family and runners, pictured (l-r) Drew Franzen of Illinois, Mike Cagel of Colorado, Tom Daly of Massachusetts and Joe Stassi of Colorado. Together, they raised more than $25,000 for the Women's Heart Foundation! Others pictured in the back row include Phil Daly , Tracy Franzen (Drew's wife) and Dolores Daly. Pictured in the front row are Kaitlin, Michael and Erin Jankowski and their mom Kathy (Noreen's sister), and Sarah and Ryan Carlson (Noreen's children).

If you would like to run in Noreen's memory, please sign up for the annual Women's Heart Foundation Run for Your Heart event, held each Mother's Day weekend. Join TEAM NOREEN and help raise money while having fun. Honor your mother, sister, daughter or friend and help commemorate National Women's Health Week. Enjoy a great day for a great cause.Thank you!
Click here to download pdf of Run For Your Heart registration form to be held Mother's Day Weekend 2006

Editor's note: Noreen's family learned that Noreen had an undetected heart ailment characterized by a prolonged Q-T interval. The rhythm disturbance led to her heart attack and premature death. Visit Noreen's page to learn more about her life.



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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.