I enthusiastically accepted the invitation to co-chair the Heart Mini 42 in 2019 because the AHA saved my dad’s life several years ago. Since the 2019 Heart Mini, the AHA's affiliate, the American Stroke Association, saved his life a second time. So I am honored to continue serving the AHA/ASA in a leadership position on the Executive Leadership Team for the 2020 Heart Mini 43.
I am the sixth of seven children. My paternal grandfather died before I was born after suffering his third heart attack at age 60. In 1991, at the age of 59, my dad was suffering some mild discomfort and went to visit a doctor. Within hours my world turned upside down at the thought of losing my dad. Fortunately, after lengthy open heart surgery to bypass five clogged arteries, my dad was saved. The technology that saved his life at the time was developed through AHA-funded research. Today my dad is almost 87 years old and still lives a very active lifestyle that includes walking 3 miles a day and driving cars on racetracks!
And that's where the American Stroke Association comes in. A few days ago, on October 13, 2019, my dad was driving on a rural country road home from a weekend on the racetrack when he suffered a stroke and miraculously had only a minor accident. He did not present the normal stroke symptoms as he had and retained all his motor skills. He said he had "double vision" and was a little confused but otherwise seemed fine. Out of an abundance of caution we took him to the ER where it was quickly discovered he had suffered a stroke. He received superb care in the ICU and hospital and we hope he will make a near full recovery thanks again to life saving research supported by the AHA/ASA.
With medication, exercise, changes in diet, regular visits to the cardiologist and a few minor heart procedures, and now a stroke, along the way, my dad has lived to see almost three decades since his heart incident and (as of this writing, two days since his stroke) thanks to the AHA/ASA. In that time, he and my mom have lovingly enjoyed being at the center of our very large and very close Cincinnati family. As a result of my dad’s experience and my family history of heart disease, I see a cardiologist, I take stress tests and I take medication to improve my heart health and I know my blood pressure numbers, all of which are supported by AHA/ASA funded research. Without the amazing work of the AHA/ASA, the past 27 years of my life and lives of so many others who my dad has touched would have been so very different.
I hope you will join me in giving back in support of this amazing organization that provides life changing outcomes in the fight against the No. 1 (heart attack) and No. 5 (stroke) killers of our friends and family members.