Sunshine Carl & Penny
The Mini means the most to me because it has significantly affected two of my very favorite people. Growing up, some of my friends called my dad "Sunshine Carl", probably because he was always a ray of sunshine. Always there to lend a hand, cheer on your race or team (a friend of mine is a friend of his) and would literally give you the shirt off his back (probably because he was smart and dressed in layers and had a backup shirt on).
Penny was her own ray of sunshine also. She warmed a room and welcomed you into her home and life. She was my college roommate/best friend's mom, but truly, I considered her a friend. She would let me stay at their house for a night or two on my way to see Erin or if they needed an "Erin fix" when Erin lived in Africa.
The work I do for the American Heart Association is for them. I work and support the Mini because the lifesaving work we've done over the, at least 44 years, helped save my dad in 2019. Through his own work with the AHA he was encouraged (and guilt-ed and urged and begged) to get his numbers checked (Blood pressure, A1C, etc.) In the span of a week he had his blood pressure checked, had an EKG, failed stent procedure and then open heart surgery to repair a blockage. He was the only one of the 13 patients on the cardiac ICU floor that DIDN'T come riding in an ambulance. The work we do at the AHA told doctors and nurses what to be looking for, how to react and helped him recover. Our work matters.
I continue to work relentlessly for the AHA because we still have more work to do. Our work couldn't save Penny. She went to be with the Lord in August of 2018 after a nine month battle of previously unknown heart conditions. Her type of heart disease needed more research and needed more information as to what causes it and how to treat it. Our work isn't finished yet. We need more research dollars. We need more advances in science. I believe I will live in a world that will one day be able to prevent another Penny being taken too early.
I want to honor Sunshine Carl & Penny in my fight against heart disease and stroke through the Mini. This year, our hearts all beat as one. Please join me in this Heart Mini Experience to help save a life!