Habelize It!3 Members
Why We Walk
2021 Heart Mini Digital Experience
This picture of my Dad and his youngest grandson supervising me and other Habels on a concrete pour in 2020 was only made possible by the AHA - TWICE! In 2019, I had the privilege of co-chairing the Heart Mini 42. I gladly stayed on the Executive Leadership Team since as my "why" has only grown stronger. My why started in the early 1990s when the AHA saved my dad's life for the first time. On October 13, 2019, 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 2021 Heart Mini 44.
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 88 years old. Until October 13, 2019, he lived a very active lifestyle that included walking 3 miles a day and driving cars on racetracks!
And that's where the American Stroke Association comes in. 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. Since that time he received excellent rehab and has been able to return home.
Miraculously, other than partially lost vision, he has made a full recovery. He owes this story to excellent care and life saving research supported by the AHA/ASA.
In 2020 my dad had the Watchman procedure. This procedure was also developed through AHA funded research. It is an amazing procedure where a device is placed inside the heart going through the leg to reduce the risk of blood clots so they can take him off blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke. This is truly amazing technology made possible through AHA funded research.
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 more than a year since his stroke thanks to the AHA/ASA. In that time, he has 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 28 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.