By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philly Heart Walk is back this weekend taking aim at the leading cause of death in the United States and raising awareness about heart disease. CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl has a special message from a survivor who will be participating in the event.

Be your own health advocate, it’s especially important for minority women who can face gender and racial bias, which can lead to being misdiagnosed.

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That’s what happened to one woman who will be part of the Philly Heart Walk on Saturday.

Dawn Roberts is a marathon runner, the picture of health until she noticed something unusual.

“My chest started hurting, it wasn’t normal. I’m like ‘what’s going on?'” Roberts said.

She went back to the doctor who’d given her a clean bill of health and was told nothing was wrong.

“Nothing is wrong with you, get out of here. Go see a neurologist,” Roberts said.

Research has shown women with undiagnosed heart disease are more likely than men to be dismissed or inaccurately diagnosed and it’s even worse for minority women. Medicine isn’t immune from sexism and racism.

“It’s really disheartening,” she said.

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When Roberts switched doctors because the pain persisted, she ended up with a stent.

“Really important for people, clinicians and others to really understand how implicit bias can kind of creep into decision making and how it can have an important impact on outcomes,” Kiarri Kershaw, who is with the Heart Association, said.

Roberts was diagnosed with a 99% blockage in her left artery.

“I’m told that’s considered a widow maker,” Roberts said.

Her diagnosis was two years ago. Now, she’s back to running and feeling great. She is excited to be part of the Philadelphia Heart Walk this weekend.

It’s the first in-person walk since the pandemic began.

“I thank God I persisted,” Roberts said. “I would encourage everyone to keep advocating if something is not right. To know your body, listen to your body.”

Roberts will celebrate her 52nd birthday at the Philly Heart Walk, which is Saturday at 8 a.m. at Citizens Bank Park.

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Stephanie Stahl