In December 2001 at the age of 25, I was admitted to the ICU with chest pain and difficulty breathing. A heart attack was suspected; kind of odd because I ate well, exercised regularly, and was young. But I have family history of heart disease and so, the testing began.
Imaging showed each of my lungs was partially collapsed, and I had fluid between my heart and its lining- the pericardium; not a heart attack. Almost a year later, I would receive a conclusive diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease in which the immune system attackes healthy tissue by mistake- in my case the pericardium. I committed to living the healthiest life I could to keep my heart, my body, and my mind strong.
My efforts have paid off! My lupus is manageable, though consistent pericarditis is with me daily. I am the healthiest sick person you may meet, lol! I figure if I can lessen or negate one risk, then I've lengthened my life to see my beautiful, smart girls grow up and live a long life.
Heart disease is largely preventable, but that doesn't make it easy! The American Heart Association works every day to fund research and provide education so that you and I have the tools, tips, and support to live a heart healthy life.
I walk because I know that with every step, I’m making a difference in someone’s life. And when combined with a million other Heart Walk Heroes across the nation, we have an even greater impact toward curing heart disease and stroke. Will you be a Heart Walk Hero with me?
Your donation will fund groundbreaking research that literally keeps hearts beating and helps people have longer, healthier lives.
Have a heart and help me reach my goal today!