In addition to entertaining millions of fans, The Young and the Restless has now taken a step to potentially help save lives. How does a soap opera that is based on fantasy and romance do that? By getting real.
"The Young and the Restless has a great tradition of telling stories about real issues that affect our viewers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, so the character of Jill felt like the perfect choice to show how a woman's life can dramatically change as a result of heart disease," Y&R's executive producer Mal Young said in a statement. "Along with providing us with some very emotional and dramatic episodes, the subject also gives us the opportunity to educate and highlight a very pertinent issue using characters our viewers know well. As well as seeing how it affects Jill as she comes to terms with her condition, the story will also illustrate how it impacts her family and those closest to her."
While the term "heart attack" is certainly not new to daytime audiences, viewers may be surprised to learn that the symptoms of a heart attack can be very different in women than they are in men.
"More than 325,000 women in the US will have a heart attack this year. They are mothers, daughters, sisters and best friends; and this February, one of them is a beloved character from the country's most watched daytime soap opera, The Young and the Restless," said Meighan Girgus, Chief Marketing and Programs Officer of the American Heart Association. "We're proud to work with CBS Daytime to raise awareness about the #1 killer of all Americans, and especially to dispel some of the many misconceptions about having and recovering from a heart attack."
The American Heart Association has provided guidance in telling Jill's story and helped ensure the character, and viewers at home, receive timely, practical, and helpful advice. The organization also wants people to learn to recognize that chest pain is not the only symptom of a heart attack; there are less common symptoms of a heart attack that are equally important to recognize. Put quite simply: listen to your body, and if something doesn't feel right, seek medical assistance.
On Y&R, Jill's heart attack came on with subtle signs -- just as most do. In upcoming episodes, Jill will receive medical treatment as well as post-care education from her doctor. It was not a coincidence or Sweeps stunt that Y&R chose now to focus on this storyline. February is American Heart Month.
If you live in a part of the country where today's episode of The Young and the Restless was preempted, we strongly recommend watching this episode of Y&R on CBS.com. It's completely free to do so -- and it could help save a life. You can watch the episode here.
Have you or someone in your family been affected by heart disease? Do you think that Jill's storyline could help save lives? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.