Participating in Leaders for Life is important to me because in 2009 I became the very survivor I was advocating for. My father, his broken heart saved mine.
In 2002 my Dad survived a sudden cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Because he survived, I decided to give back and in college I volunteered with the AHA. Through volunteering I learned the signs & symptoms of heart attacks and stroke. Little did I know that very information would save my life.
On October 22, 2009 I started having chest pains while driving to work. At first I shrugged it off and told myself “we can get some Tylenol when we get to the office.” As the miles ticked by my pain got worse and worse, I was fighting for every breath I could muster. I thought about calling my Mom, but chose not to because she would panic which meant I would panic. I have a fear of being stranded on a freeway, so when I saw the Lexington PKWY exit I took it.
I almost died five days before my 27th Birthday. My birth control, it almost killed me. I went from being a healthy 26 year old woman to a pulmonary embolism and stroke survivor. The very survivor I was advocating for. While in the hospital my Dad told me I needed to make a choice, I could grow bitter and mourn the life I lost or I could chose to be grateful for this borrowed life and make a difference. I chose to make a difference, because no woman should ever have to endure my worst day possible.
His heart saved mine and I am forever grateful to the AHA, research saved our lives and we both know it is the key to everyone’s healthy tomorrow.