hidden

AETNA SIGNS ON AS SIGNATURE SPONSOR OF AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION‘S 2017 CONNECTICUT HEART BALL

KAY MOONEY OF AETNA NAMED CAMPAIGN CHAIR

The American Heart Association announces that Aetna has signed on as the signature sponsor of the American Heart Association’s 2017 Connecticut Heart Ball. Kay Mooney, Vice President of Benefits and Well-being at Aetna will serve as the event’s chair, leading all fundraising efforts.

The Connecticut Heart Ball, the American Heart Association’s signature social event, will take place on December 2nd at the Hartford Marriott Downtown where 400 business leaders, community leaders, and philanthropists will gather to raise awareness and celebrate the important work of the American Heart Association. The elegant affair will feature dinner, dancing, and a live auction.

“I am honored to serve as chair of the 2017 Connecticut Heart Ball”, said Kay Mooney. “Aetna’s community support for the Heart Ball helps fund lifesaving research, prevention and education programs, all of which are critical to saving lives from heart disease and stroke.”
The theme for the Heart Ball is Igniting a Healthier Community focuses on promoting kid’s health and the health of Connecticut communities. Each sponsor’s support of the event will deliver a health asset in the community, such as providing CPR training kits in schools, providing recess equipment to underserved schools, and bringing awareness to congenital heart defects.  The combined efforts will be celebrated at the Heart Ball.

 

“The community-minded work that Kay Mooney has done working on our Go Red For Women Luncheon, Hartford Heart Walk, and Circle of Red makes her an inspiring choice for this year’s Heart Ball chair,” said Judy Campisi, American Heart Association, Connecticut Executive Director. “We are delighted Kay will lead this year’s Heart Ball fundraising efforts. Her unparalleled commitment to wellness, and her generosity for our cause will provide the leadership to make the evening a huge success”.

The American Heart Association is actively seeking corporate sponsorships and individual contributions toward this year’s Heart Ball campaign and event. If your company is interested in joining this campaign, or if you are interested in making a personal gift to this cause, please contact Christina Asaro at the American Heart Association at 203-303-3340 or christina.asaro@heart.org. More information about the cause and the event can be found at HeartHeartBall.heart.org.

hidden

Nominate Someone You Know For the Stroke & Caregivers Virtual Gallery Presented by Hoffman Auto Group

Nominate Someone You Know For the Stroke & Caregivers Virtual Gallery Presented by Hoffman Auto Group

If you want to nominate yourself or someone else to be part of the Stroke & Caregiver Survivor Virtual Gallery, please read the following details, and then click on the link below share your story!

The American Heart Association has teamed up with Hoffman Auto Group to bring awareness of the risks of stroke by creating a virtual gallery of survivors and caregivers. Three stroke survivors or caregivers will be featured on virtual posters which will be posted on the social media pages of the American Heart Association in Connecticut. Each stroke survivor or caregiver’s story will be detailed on the American Heart Association’s Connecticut Blog.

The focus of the virtual posters will be to bring awareness that stroke is the number one cause of disability and number five killer in the United States. The posters will also be shared on the American Heart Association’s and Hoffman’s social media pages.

To nominate someone, or to share your story, click on the site below by September 29th to be considered. Stroke survivors or caregivers will be selected by a committee comprising of the American Heart Association and Hoffman Auto Group. Those selected will be notified by October 17th.

Click here to share your story or nominate a survivor.

hidden

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES 2017 GREATER HARTFORD HEART WALK CO-CHAIRS

The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, announces Corliss Montesi of Stanley Black and Decker and Mary Anne Cannon of Pratt & Whitney as co-chairs of the 2017 Hartford Heart Walk. The Hartford Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, October 14 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford.

 As co-chairs, Corliss Montesi and Mary Anne Cannon will lead the organizational and recruitment efforts in the greater Hartford area. They will call on thousands of area volunteers, survivors, walkers, and business leaders to step up to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading cause of death in the United States.

“As a volunteer and Connecticut board member, I understand the need for continual support in the fight against heart disease through funding and awareness,” said walk co-chair Corliss Montesi. “Stanley Black and Decker is committed to helping people live healthier lives and by supporting the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk – we are joining together to advance their lifesaving mission of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease while encouraging a culture of physical activity.”

The Hartford Heart Walk will attempt to raise more than $300,000 to fund research and education to fight heart disease and stroke. Each day, nearly 2,400 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease. That’s an average of one death every 37 seconds. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Research has found that individuals may gain two hours of life expectancy for every one hour of regular, vigorous exercise they do.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with more than 7,000 deaths in Connecticut each year,” said co-chair Mary Anne Cannon. “I am eager to take on this leadership role and have the opportunity to promote health and wellness to help change these statistics and raise the funds needed to support such a critical cause. Pratt & Whitney has been a strong supporter of the American Heart Association and we are committed to continue our support to advance this lifesaving mission.”

Corliss Montesi is Vice President, Corporate Controller, at Stanley Black & Decker, a worldwide supplier of hand and power tools, industrial equipment, and security solutions. Corliss leads a global organization in all aspects of accounting, controls and trade compliance. A passionate supporter of women and diversity, she is also an Executive Sponsor of the SBD Women’s Network.

Mary Anne Cannon is Pratt & Whitney’s vice president Commercial Programs including the PW4000, PW2000, PW6000, JT9D and JT8D engines and is responsible for developing and managing the product line life-cycle strategies and ensuring customer requirements are met.

To learn more about the Hartford Heart Walk, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please call Wendy Schrlau at (203) 303-3317 or go to www.hartfordheartwalk.org.

hidden

AETNA FOUNDATION AND AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION TEAM UP

The American Heart Association and the Aetna Foundation have teamed up to build healthier minds and bodies by building Teaching Gardens, together. The American Heart Association is pleased to announce that the Aetna Foundation will sponsor a two-year, multi-phase Teaching Gardens program in Boston and Hartford, Conn.

The program will fund four Teaching Gardens at local schools in both cities between 2017 and 2019, providing materials needed to plant a real-life laboratory with garden-themed lessons in nutrition, math, science, and other subjects.

The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens program encompasses a core belief that when you educate children about nutritional choices, and challenge them to make small changes to improve their health, they will build a foundation of healthy habits – and even use them to empower their families at home. Lifelong habits are created during childhood, and the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens provide a unique experience for elementary school students to gain knowledge of planting seeds, nurturing plants, harvesting produce and ultimately choosing healthier eating habits.

“Our mission is to build a healthier world – one person, one family and one community at a time – and supporting the Teaching Gardens program is one way we are achieving that goal,” said Garth Graham, MD, MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “The children who participate don’t only learn about the importance of fresh, healthy food, but often share their knowledge and enthusiasm with their families, helping to improve health in their communities from the ground up.”

The first Teaching Gardens in Hartford will be hosted by Covenant Preparatory School and located on the campus of Jumoke Academy. The planting of the garden will take place on July 21, 2017, and will be led by a Teaching Gardens committee, parents, community leaders, employee volunteers and Aetna staff.

“Our students, parents and faculty are all excited to be participating in the Teaching Gardens program,” said Glenn Winfree, head of Covenant Preparatory School. “We believe that this is a great way to introduce ideas about nutrition to our students in a hands-on way, and also engage the rest of our community in the process.”

The Boston area placement will be at located at Quincy Heights in Dorchester with the planting taking place later this year.

In addition to the eight Teaching Gardens, Aetna will also provide a planting station at the Boston Heart Walk on Sept. 9, 2017, and at the Greater Hartford Heart Walk on Oct. 14, 2017. This will provide families and children the opportunity to interact and experience gardening firsthand. Interactive plantings will also take place at the 2018 Boston and Hartford walks.

“We are thrilled the Aetna Foundation will provide the support necessary to create eight Teaching Gardens and make a difference in the lives of the children in these communities”, said James Devlin, American Heart Association Vice President Founders Affiliate, eastern region. “Research shows the Teaching Gardens dramatically change the way children think about food and consume it, and those who participate in school gardening programs have a greater chance of trying and liking fruits and vegetables. These gardens provided by Aetna can make a lifelong impact on the health of those participating.”

Teaching Gardens can help teach children to learn what it truly means to be healthy; a first step in reversing the obesity epidemic. Enhancing the diets of children is essential – currently, less than one percent of the adult population and nearly no children ages 12-19 are in ideal heart-health, in large part due to the lack of a healthy diet. And if this trend continues, experts predict this generation to be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.

The gardens will not only offer education on nutrition and healthy food choices, they will ultimately help the students be more productive in school. Studies also show that normal weight children have higher scholastic achievement, less absenteeism and higher physical fitness levels than their obese counterparts. In fact, one study suggests that nutritional education, combined with garden-based learning, is more effective than either alone in changing students’ fruit or vegetable intake.

The Teaching Gardens program is part of a larger American Heart Association “Healthy For Good” healthy living initiative, designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy, and to take-action.

For more information about the Teaching Gardens program visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens.

hidden

Rylan’s Story

My husband, Ray and I were expecting our second child. We were full of excitement and couldn’t wait to introduce our little one to his big brother, Hayden. Hayden was three at the time.

Rylan was born on Monday, October 6th weighing 9lbs – 1 ounce at Waterbury Hospital. He had a 9.9 APGAR (which measures a newborn’s health from 1 – 10, 10 being the best), was pink and crying. He looked like a healthy baby.

I remember wanting to get home as soon as possible so we could be together as a family. We pushed to be released exactly 24 hours after his birth.

Rylan was sent to the nursery for the newborn screening tests and my husband and I packed up our things and were preparing to take him home. We suddenly realized he had been gone for quite a while, so we called the nurse. The pediatrician came into our room and said she could not be sure, but it appeared something could be wrong with Rylan’s heart. He had failed his pulse ox test which looks at the amount of oxygen in his blood. She told us he needed to be rushed to a much bigger hospital for further evaluated.

I was in complete disbelief because he appeared to be so healthy.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) critical care transport team arrived and took Rylan as we followed behind.

My husband and I arrived at CCMC and we were directed to the 3rd floor to the Pediatric Intensive Care unit.

As we walked to Rylan’s room we meet his cardiologist who was preparing him for his first echocardiogram. Ray and I stood waiting and praying that the exam would show nothing. Instead, the doctor told us the news. Rylan would require open heart surgery within the week to correct his many heart defects. On Tuesday, October 7th around 7pm, our lives changed forever. Rylan was born with Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD (a hold in his heart), Transposition of the Great Arteries (his major arteries, the Aorta and Pulmonary arteries, were in switched positions) and double outlet right ventricle, (both major arteries were coming off the same spot of the heart).

We spent the next week preparing for surgery, living in and out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and parenting our three-year-old son. It was the most difficult, eye opening time for our family.

On Tuesday October 14th at 7:30am the doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists wheeled our one-week old baby into open heart surgery to mend his heart. He came out of surgery around 2pm and we finally saw him around 3pm. He was asleep and peaceful looking despite the many tubes, wires, IVs and monitors attached to his small body.

Over the next week, Ray and I stayed by Rylan’s side sleeping in the family suites attached to the PICU. Once he was weaned off the ventilator, his pace wires were removed along with his central line and he was transferred to the stepdown floor. He quickly regained his strength and began feeding.

Overall, we were in the hospital for three long weeks, until he was discharged. When the time came, it was such an amazing feeling!

The following weeks were filled with doctor’s visits, tests and even at home nurse care. But we were so blessed to have Rylan home and healthy.

Rylan continues to see his cardiologists every six months to monitor his heart and leaky valves. Because his heart was mended and not cured, he will need to continue to have his heart monitored. We don’t know what the future will hold for him, but we are very thankful for everyone who has been involved in his care, who held our hands and wiped away our tears during those very difficult weeks. We are especially thankful for the work and science of the American Heart Association. Without it, many of the procedures and protocols used, might not have been in place to help Rylan.

Rylan is now a very busy, active, mischievous two-and-a-half-year-old. He loves being outside playing with his big brother or his cat, Wing or dog, Kylo.

 

hidden

Combo of smaller meds may just be the dose to lower blood pressure

Combined smaller doses of blood pressure medications may be effective with fewer side effects than standard single doses, according to preliminary research.

In the first review to compare quarter-dose therapy to standard dose and placebo, researchers found that two medications in combination was just as effective as one standard dose of blood pressure-lowering medication. They also found that four medications in combination, each at a quarter dose, was nearly twice as effective as one standard dose.

The side effects from single and dual quarter-dose therapies were about the same as from placebo and much less than from a standard dose of a single antihypertensive medication, researchers said. There was little information on side effects for the quadruple quarter dose therapy.

“Widespread control of blood pressure is generally low, even in high-income countries,” said Anthony Rodgers, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., professor at The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. “Because high blood pressure is so common and serious, even small improvements in management can have a large impact on public health.”

Each class of high blood pressure medications has different possible side effects, including weakness, dizziness, insomnia, headache and muscle cramps.

Researchers analyzed and compared results from 42 trials involving 20,284 people with high blood pressure on various doses of medications or taking no medication. The review included many different types of medications from the five main classes of drugs to treat hypertension, including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blocker and thiazides.

While low-dose combinations for blood pressure control is promising, there still isn’t enough research to warrant a change in how doctors prescribe blood pressure-lowering therapies and only a few low dose combinations are available, researchers said.

“This new approach to treatment needs more research before it can be recommended more widely,” Rodgers said. “The findings have not yet been tested in large long-term trials. People should not reduce the doses of their current medications.”

The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension

hidden

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables For Healthier Families

Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to grocery stores, farmers markets and local gardens. That means more opportunities to add tasty and heart-healthy foods to your everyday meals. Strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe and other seasonal produce taste good and help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

About one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, which can lead to a broad range of health problems. You can help your child develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits by incorporating more fruits and veggies to their everyday diet.

Here are tips to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet, and help you and your family get on the right path to good health.

 

  • Keep it colorful. Challenge yourself to try fruits and vegetables of different colors. Make it a red/green/orange day (apple, lettuce, carrot), or try for a rainbow of fruits and vegetables during the week.
  • Add it on. Add fruit and vegetables to foods kids love. Try adding frozen peas to mac’n’cheese, veggies on top of pizza and slices of fruit on top of breakfast cereals or low-fat ice cream.
  • Mix them up. Add fruits and vegetables to food that’s cooked or baked, or mix vegetables in with pasta sauces, lasagnas, casseroles, soups and omelets. Mixing fresh berries into pancakes, waffles or muffins is one example to make fruit part of breakfast.
  • Use healthier cooking methods. Steaming, grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking and microwaving vegetables are ideal preparation methods. Use fats and oils low in saturated fats sparingly; don’t use trans fats.
  • Enjoy vegetable dippers. Chop raw vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and celery are perfect with a low-fat or fat-free dressings. Dip tip: Read the food label of sauces and dressings to make sure they are not overloaded with saturated fat and salt.
  • Sip smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to increase the amount of fruit you eat and they’re easy to make. A basic smoothie is just frozen fruit, some low-fat or non-fat milk and/or yogurt, and 100% fruit juice all processed together in a blender until smooth.
  • Try fruit pops. Put 100% fruit juice and fresh berries in an ice tray and freeze it overnight. You can eat the fruit cubes as mini-popsicles or put them in other juices. Frozen seedless grapes make natural mini-popsicles and are a great summer treat.

The American Heart Association offers more resources to help your kids live a longer, stronger life. For information and tips on healthier kids including weight management, physical activity and nutrition go to heart.org/healthierkids.

hidden

Christine couldn’t believe she was having a heart attack. She was too young. But her heart stopped four times and she credits the quick action of the healthcare providers who performed CPR. Here is Christine’s story.

I’m 38 now. Single. I live in Stamford CT. I grew up in Westchester County, graduated from Stanford University and have lived a lot of lives between Manhattan, Chicago & Charlotte. I’m the Marketing Director for a restaurant group and I’m an independent consultant and team leader with a premium anti-age skincare company (Rodan + Fields). My father says, if I’m not stressed, I’m bored. I over-analyze everything, I’m stubborn, I’m a procrastinator… And I often bite off more than I can chew because I don’t like to say, “no.” I’m a YES person and despite my party-habits, restaurant-hopping and jet-setting ways, I don’t do drugs. I’m no angel but drugs came up A LOT in the hospital with regards to heart attacks in younger people. That just wasn’t me.LePetitStudio--7

On December 15th, I had gotten plenty of sleep, but I still felt tired. I stayed home and worked from bed and I allowed myself to fall asleep, twice. I had chicken noodle soup for lunch, even though I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t have breakfast, but I drank a ton of water and some OJ. On the horizon I had dinner plans with a college friend that I don’t see often. I didn’t know what to do about it. I kept telling myself that I was fine and that annoying colds like this don’t last long. Kate had hired a babysitter to watch her 3 boys. She was planning to take an Uber from New Canaan; she had marked her calendar. Last time I cancelled on her because of work. Not this time. At just a bit before 6PM, I got into the shower. I had just finished shampooing my hair when I started to cough. I started to condition my hair and became exhausted by the simple act of rinsing. I think that’s when a bit of anxiety set in. I mean, it’s just a shower! I stepped out and reached for a towel. I was too tired to dry myself off. I suddenly felt nauseous. I kneeled down beside the toilet and threw up. I had only had chicken soup, so there wasn’t much to get out. I got up and staggered to my bedroom. I lied down on the bed, soaking wet. No one does that unless something is seriously wrong, right?! I looked up at the ceiling and basically said, “get your sh*t together.” I tried to center myself and focus on breathing. I thought about what I could do next to make myself feel better and I had no answers. The idea of putting clothing on seemed impossible. I thought about calling a few friends. Maybe one of them could drive me to the hospital? I lay there thinking, NO, I need to call an ambulance… BUT this is probably nothing… The ambulance will be expensive… And all of my neighbors are going to see me get rolled out!

Not once did I think heart attack. I reached for my phone, while lying on my back. I called my mom.

Mom: Hello there! (Happy voice)

CW: Mom, I think I’m going to call 911.

Mom: (Gasp) What’s wrong? (Scared voice)

CW: It hurts to breathe.

Mom: Hang-up. Call 911. We’re on our way!

I hung up and started to cry. Clearly I was looking for one person to agree with me in order to make that call… I called 911 at 6:17PM. My call with the 911 dispatcher lasted only a minute, but in my memory it lasted 5. 10? The firefighters were the first to arrive to the scene. They asked me questions about drugs and alcohol. They asked me about what I’d eaten. They checked my pulse and tried to keep me calm. The more calm they wanted me to be, the less calm I became. They seemed to think it was an anxiety attack, and while I didn’t disagree, why did it have to hurt so much? They put a portable plastic breathing thing over my mouth and made me breath in and out into the plastic bag. It was uncomfortable and it wasn’t helping my chest. The EMT’s arrived about 5 or so minutes behind the firemen. It was a man and a woman and they brought in a stretcher. The woman took charge. She asked the same questions that the firemen asked. She told me to calm down and breathe. Once I was on the stretcher, I told them all that I thought I was going to throw up again. I did.

The team wrapped a sheet around me and we were ready to roll. “Can you grab my wallet. And the two phones by the bed.” I heard someone say, “If you have two phones, no wonder you’re so stressed.” Outside I was FREEZING. Inside the ambulance I thought about my crazy crime drama TV show. The sirens sounded and I felt every bump in the road as we made our way across town. I began speaking in gibberish (they say) and then my heart stopped. That’s everything I remember. I went into cardiac arrest just as we were pulling up to the hospital. There was little time for planning. They raced me inside and started CPR again in the hallway. Between 7:04PM and 7:20PM is one big question mark. My heart stopped four times. I almost didn’t make it. 16 minutes of trying to bring me back to life — while my parents waited down the hall not knowing I had even arrived. I did not see a bright light and turn around, but I did wake up and see all of the doctors and nurses standing over me, shouting!Christine_bw

The counting, the pressure on my chest… “Stay with me!” At one point this feisty girl couldn’t take the pain so she started swatting at the person doing compressions. It was all hands on deck and not another body could fit into that room. Today I am doing well and I’m grateful for each person who was there to save my life!

A special thank you to Christine Petit of Le Petit Studio for taking photos of the Hoffman Go Red Gallery women. www.PetitPics.com

 

CHRISTINA’S UPDATE:

December 15th, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of my heart attack and gosh what a special year it has been. I remember when I was leaving the hospital that I was told that I would go through the “stages of grief.” I thought this was CRAZY, because I was so insanely HAPPY + grateful. Even though there was this weight on my chest and it hurt to cough, I felt as though a weight had been lifted. The stressful stuff that used to matter so much before didn’t matter anymore. I wanted to focus all of my attention on people, experiences + love. Shortly after returning to work as the marketing director of a NY-based restaurant group, I decided to give my notice and go all-in on my side-hustle, Rodan + Fields (a premium skincare company founded by the doctors that created proactiv). I figured that if I gout out of my apartment and put all of my stuff in storage, I could make enough money to live month-to-month visiting friends across the country. And so I did that. I flew to California several times, drove North to Boston and South to Key West. It was amazing!!! In addition to being the time I needed to reflect + cry + breathe + laugh, I was able to reconnect with old friends I rarely get to see AND hug new ones that I’d never met in person. 

 I love to write. I love to take pictures. I love to travel. Now I get to put it all together… In a blog. In a book. I’ve been sharing a lot online and people have written me to thank me. A few messages went so far as to say that I saved their life. Goosebumps. 

 After 9 months of living out of a suitcase… We loaded up a moving truck in Stamford, CT. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, my dad and I drove South to Charlotte, NC. This is my new home. I have a great apartment in the Southend that is significantly cheaper than my Northern digs 🙂 I’m close to my sister and my two adorable nephews and I am driving distance from a few of my new favorite cities! The airport is a 15 minute Uber ride away. The adventure is just beginning. I’m feeling great!   

You can follow Christine on her blog: http://christinexwayne.com/

 

hidden

Stacy-Ann was unaware she had rheumatic heart disease until she was 29 and pregnant. She later had two open heart surgeries and will eventually have another. Here is Stacy-Ann’s story.

I was unaware of my rheumatic heart disease until I was 29 years old on pregnant. I went into heart failure while pregnant as a result of my undiagnosed rheumatic heart disease. My reported symptoms including shortness of breath, weight gain, swollen fluid filled feet, trouble sleeping were all LePetitStudio--4dismissed   as typical pregnancy symptoms. Unfortunately that was not the case. On March 22, 2011 at what was supposed to be a routine OBGYN visit turned into a day filled with multiple pre-natal testing, screenings, which ultimately ended in a decision to do an emergency C-Section in order to save my daughter’s life. Still no one was aware that I was in heart failure. The C-Section was successful and my daughter was who was severely IUGR was born weighing 2lbs 12oz. She was in the NICU and all the focus was on her health and survival.

The following night after my emergency C-Section I had trouble sleeping and breathing became difficult. I reported it to the hospital staff and they brought in a respiratory team to give me a nebulizer treatment. Still no one was aware I was I heart failure. The following morning they sent me to do an echocardiogram and that’s when it was discovered that I had fluid buildup in my lungs and that I had scaring on my valve, which indicated rheumatic heart disease. The seriousness on my condition was downplayed and they gave me some Lasix to help to diurese me. That night I realized how serious my situation was when I went into respiratory distress, which required emergency lifesaving intervention including a large dose of IV Lasix. I was transferred from the maternity unit to the cardiac step down unit and officially became a cardiac patient.

This was a devastating time for my family as my two day old premature baby was in the NICU and I was in the cardiac unit trying to figure out what was happening. I was discharged from the hospital a week later and referred to a cardiologist and that was where my cardiac journey began. My Cardiologist confirmed that I had mitral valve regurgitation and stenosis, aortic valve regurgitation and tricuspid valve regurgitation. I was devastated. He did not know if it was the pregnancy and the hemodynamic shift that caused my disease to worsen so he decided to follow-up with me after a year to see what my baseline echocardiogram would reveal. Sadly a year later my follow-up echocardiogram revealed that the mitral valve regurgitation was severe and there was some heart enlargement as a result.

The decision to repair my valve was made and on December 11, 2012, I underwent my first open heart surgery. It was terrifying. I felt a lot of emotions because I always say myself as a healthy person and did not expect that I would need to undergo heart surgery at the tender age of 31 years old. The heart valve repair was successful and after a 3-6 month recovery period I was cleared to continue living my life as an active 31 year old.

I felt the ordeal was over but surprisingly when I went in for a routine echocardiogram in October 2015, I learned that the mitral regurgitation had returned and the repair did not hold up. I was devastated. The decision was made to replace the trouble valve and on May 6, 2016 I underwent my second open heart surgery. I opted for a tissue prosthetic valve, which means that I am guaranteed a 3rd surgery in the coming years.Stacy_bw

There is nothing I could have done to prevent myself from rheumatic heart disease but I want to help to educate others about the importance of living a healthful lifestyle. I want to share my story in the hope that I can encourage other women to take charge of their health to help prevent heart disease and other preventable chronic conditions.

 

A special thank you to Christine Petit of Le Petit Studio for taking photos of the Hoffman Go Red Gallery women. www.PetitPics.com

STACY-ANN’S UPDATE:

Since this time last year I started a heart disease survivor blog called the heart life. I also launched a heart disease survivor podcast of the same name where I interview other survivors in order to raise awareness and empower other women. I Also got to take a European vacation that was on my bucket list and visited London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Stockholm. I am now training to run my first half marathon later this year. Life is great!

hidden

Kim learned the signs of stroke when her children participated in Jump Rope For Heart. So when she couldn’t speak or use her right hand, she knew she needed help right away. Kim called 911 immediately and today she runs Marathons. Here is Kim’s story.

May 26, 2015, I woke up like any other day. I was 3 months out from running theLePetitStudio--10

marathon in Pennsylvania to qualify for The Boston Marathon 2016. My children had

been participating in Jump Rope for Heart for 6 years as a school fundraiser. About 30

minutes after waking up, I felt numbness in my hand and face. I also experienced

dizziness unlike what I had felt before. Within minutes my right leg was heavy and I

couldn’t lift it. I could not grasp my water bottle with my right hand and I had difficulty

speaking. Recognizing the signs of stroke from my kids during Jump Rope for heart, I

called 911 immediately! I was hospitalized for one week and an MRI confirmed that I

had suffered a stroke. The American Heart Association saved my life. I want to spread

the word of the importance of awareness. My story could be very different if I hadn’t

known the symptoms and sought help immediately! Stroke does not discriminate. Any

Kim_bwone at any time can be affected by stroke. Know the signs. I am honored to be part of

Tedys Team Boston Marathon 2016. I cannot wait to raise money in hopes of ending

heart disease and stroke.

 

A special thank you to Christine Petit of Le Petit Studio for taking photos of the Hoffman Go Red Gallery women. www.PetitPics.com