Interview : Sophie Amarenco et Réjane Lacoste for “Women and Stroke “
The EVE programme takes a look at two women leaders who are united by a common goal: to prevent and overcome stroke in women. Sophie Amarenco and Réjane Lacoste explain their commitment to the #Agir campaign and the Women and Stroke Collective.
What is the Women and Stroke Collective?
Femmes et AVC (Women and Stroke) is a group launched by Réjane Lacoste and Sophie Amarenco. It was set up by the Vaincre l’AVC endowment fund with the aim of alerting, raising awareness, screening and informing all women, whatever their age, about the leading cause of death, stroke. The Collective was set up because virtually no women knew that stroke was their number 1 cause of death, even though it is possible to prevent it.
For Sophie and Réjane, it was impossible to do nothing!
With 1 in 4 women over the age of 25 having a stroke in their lifetime, stroke is the leading cause of death in women in France. The Women and Stroke Collective’s mission is to raise women’s awareness of stroke through prevention campaigns and to promote screening. The aim is to reduce the number of women dying from stroke. This Collective is the story of 2 women for women, and here’s our interview with them:
Personally, what links you to this cause?
Sophie: “Throughout my career, I’ve worked in the cardiovascular field and more specifically in stroke, first in the pharmaceutical industry and then in medical equipment.When I was responsible for launching a new treatment in France to prevent strokes caused by heart arrhythmias, and I was in direct contact with patients, I realised that there was a lack of information about stroke and all I could think about was creating a structure to change all that. Married to Professor Pierre Amarenco, a stroke specialist, I suggested that he set up a foundation. We decided to set up an endowment fund.
Réjane, : “My husband Michel had a stroke in 2017 and my ties with the Amarenco couple have grown stronger since then. Passionate about people and communication, I was immediately tempted by the adventure.”
As a woman leader, do you have any advice on how to unite / engage / convince people around your cause?
“We’re all concerned! Together we can do something! Getting involved means first of all being convinced. The figures speak for themselves”.
What is your greatest challenge in this adventure?
Réjane: “In 2022 I set myself the challenge of crossing Lake Geneva from Lausanne to Evian, a 14km freestyle swim. On 22 August 2023, I did it in 6 hours 25 minutes, in the name of the women and stroke cause. It was a personal challenge, but also a way of communicating about this disease. Sport is one of the essential tools for reducing the risk of having a stroke.
By 2030, Sophie and I share the objective of making as many people as possible aware of the risks of stroke and reducing it by 80 per cent.
Prevention requires information and screening.
Sophie: “I want the Eiffel Tower to be lit up in the colours of Women and Stroke!
You can assess your risk of stroke on their website femmesetavc.org (also in English) and find out about preventive measures to reduce risk factors. Find out more about them on femmesetavc.org, and on Instagram (@femmes_et_avc), Twitter (@femmesetavc) and LinkedIn (Femmes et AVC).
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