I.E. Mourns Passing of Joyce Fairman
By Eliz Dowdy, Staff Writer
The month of August brought not only extreme flooding in some areas of the nation, but for Inland Empire communities it brought the devastating news that Mrs. Joyce Fairman had passed. Fairman was founder/CEO of Hearts of Color, a nonprofit organization she started after suffering major cardiovascular problems in 2010. She stated that while teaching in Arizona in 2006, one of her students had mentioned the fact that her ankles were swollen. She just assumed it was the climate and continued the pace she was used to working, but did have a checkup because of fatigue and pressure in her back. She was told she was just overweight and needed to lose weight. Then in 2010 she collapsed, went to emergency and was diagnosed as having a dissected aorta. That condition led to multiple surgeries, and the birth of Hearts of Color. As Mrs. Fairman went through the healing process, she became more aware of the lack of current information about the number one killer of African American women– heart disease. With renewed energy and optimism, she began to research and very quickly learned that minority women were dying in staggering numbers from heart disease. Fairman stated her primary goal was to provide support and education to patients and healthcare providers that work with minority women. For instance, she emphasized to women to ask questions, if you don’t understand what your doctor means by the cardio vocabulary, speak up!
As the organization continued it’s ascent on the citadel of cardiovascular disease, she was called to Washington D. C. to receive the prestigious Wenger award, named for Nanette Kass Wenger, MD, a pioneer in women’s cardiovascular medicine and research. Fairman was one of three women to receive that award in 2015. The host organization was the WomenHeart National Coalition for women heart disease. While she was in the area, she spoke with Black cardiologists who were also working to bring more clarity to minority women’s heart health. When this reporter interviewed Fairman about heart health and Black women in 2015, she stated that younger Black women are dying during child birth from heart problems, because their physicians are not connecting the dots of migraine headaches, nausea, and chronic fatigue.
She used YouTube videos, workshops, and print media to get the message out about healthy changes that promote longevity.
On August 19, Mrs. Joyce Fairman drew her last breath, and left many friends, associates and family in absolute shock. Slowly we began to process the fact that our advocate, sister soldier, and confidant was resting in peace.
Condolences came from Assemblymember Eloise Reyes at the Capitol in Sacramento; from Supervisor Josie Gonzalez, as they observed a moment of silence that the voice of advocacy for women’s health was silent. Also from Susan G Komen’s Circle of Promise, Inland Empire. Fairman was not content to just concentrate on cardiovascular, she expanded the circle of caring to include vets, and she surprised me with a certificate of recognition in November 2016 as a veteran.
Joyce Fairman was born November 25, 1946 in Los Angeles, where she graduated from Hollywood High School when she was seventeen. She married and began a family that included four daughters and two sons by whom she is survived, their spouses, eighteen grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and three brothers.
She returned to school, earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in education. She was studying to receive a Doctorate degree in education.
A memorial service was held on September 8 at Cross Word Christian Church in Moreno Valley.
According to daughter, Shamon Fairman Campos, the organization her mother founded, Hearts of Color, will continue to educate and support minority women’s heart health