Bayer HealthCare, the makers of Bayer Aspirin, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, and actress, singer and author Vanessa Williams today announce their partnership to launch Handbags & Hearts, a national campaign that leverages the link between women and their handbags – the one item they do not leave home without – and urges women to take the Handbags & Hearts pledge to carry aspirin at all times to be prepared for a sudden heart attack.Being prepared by carrying aspirin, knowing the symptoms of heart attack and not putting off calling 911 if a heart attack is suspected, can be the difference between life and death.More than 250,000 women die of a heart attack each year, yet most women’s handbags are better prepared for a broken nail (55%) or bad hair day (36%) than a heart attack (17%). In fact, in a recent survey, less than one-quarter of women said they carry aspirin in their handbag. When taken during a suspected heart attack and for 30 days thereafter, aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 23 percent and lessen a heart attack’s damaging effects to the heart muscle.“I am passionate about this campaign and its message, as both of my grandmothers died from heart attacks at a young age. As Mother’s Day nears, I’m joining Bayer HealthCare and WomenHeart to urge all women to make their heart health a priority and to take the Handbags & Hearts pledge to carry aspirin in their handbags at all times and learn the symptoms of a heart attack in women. I took the pledge and have encouraged all the important women in my life to do the same,” said Vanessa Williams, currently starring in “The Trip to Bountiful” on Broadway. “Calling 911 if you think you may be experiencing a heart attack, and having aspirin on hand if needed, can help save lives, yet so many women aren’t doing this.”Saving Hearts, One Handbag at a Time For every pledge to make over a handbag by adding potentially life-saving aspirin, and every share of the message with friends made on HandbagsAndHearts.com, Bayer HealthCare will make donations to WomenHeart ($1 for pledge, $2 for share) up to a total of $200,000 to support WomenHeart in serving the 42 million American women living with or at risk for heart disease. WomenHeart is a national network of women living with heart disease, aligned with a scientific advisory council composed of many of the nation’s top cardiologists and other healthcare experts, all committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives.In addition, consumers can also visit www.HandbagsAndHearts.com to order a Heart Attack Preparedness Kit for a $5 donation to WomenHeart. The Kit includes aspirin and tips for what to do in case of a sudden heart attack.Women Don’t Know the Signs of Heart Attack When it comes to heart disease, men and women are not always created equal. In a recent online survey of 1,000 women, most had limited knowledge of heart attack symptoms different to them such as nausea (57%) and cold sweats (64%). And while most women (61%) surveyed said they now fear they are likely to have a heart attack in their lifetime, many said they did not ask their doctor about their “overall heart health” at their last physical.“I see many women in my practice who are busy taking care of everyone but themselves. Don’t be passive about your health; ask your doctor about your coronary risks and a plan you can put in place to address those risks – before you have a heart attack,” said Tracy Stevens, MD, FACC, member of WomenHeart’s national Scientific Advisory Council, WomenHeart’s advisory group of the nation’s leading experts on women’s heart health. “And take the time now to know the signs of a heart attack in women. If you suspect a heart attack, calling 911 and taking aspirin as directed by a physician can be life-saving. Trust your gut – if something doesn’t seem right, don’t delay. Taken immediately at the onset of heart attack, aspirin can prevent the formation of additional blood clots that block the blood flow through the arteries and can reduce the risk of death. Carrying aspirin in case of emergency is a no-brainer. It’s one small change that can make all the difference.”To learn more about Handbags & Hearts and to take the pledge, visit www.HandbagsAndHearts.com.