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Survivor

Real Stories from real people

people icon. Real stories from real people.

Cardiovascular disease happens to one in four people every year. 

Read the stories of people who survived. Every story is personal. Every story matters.

Stories of Survival

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    How it all started

    Tuesday September, 22nd, I had one of the worst days in the office I could remember in a long time. For the rest of the day, I kept getting what I could only describe as a “nervous” feeling in my throat,/top of my stomach, followed by tightness in my chest and harder (not faster) than usual heartbeat. This lasted the rest of the day and into the night. When I awoke on Wednesday the 23rd, it was still happening and seemed to be getting stronger. I opted to stay at home as I had multiple conference calls and training sessions to go through. I was on my first conference call when these episodes started to increase so I went to the hospital.”

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    Heart Valve Patient Ambassador shares her story

    A congenital heart defect required Jen Hyde to have two open-heart surgeries, including heart valve replacement by the time she was 25. Now, the Brooklyn poet and artist is using her experiences to channel her art and connect with other survivors. Hyde, now 30, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot at birth, a congenital heart defect that impairs the heart’s ability to move oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. She was born without a pulmonary valve and with a hole between her left and right ventricles, allowing some oxygen-poor blood to travel into the aorta and to the body, rather than to the lungs first.

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    Donna Marie’s Journey

    First, I am a very fit woman. I eat clean, healthy, whole foods. For many years, I worked out almost daily. I took high intensity spinning classes three times per week, high intensity heavy weight training two times per week, Pilates three times/week and yoga once/week and I walked every day for 30-45 minutes. I was the epitome of fitness. I began to have symptoms a week before going on vacation to France in September 2015 but attributed my dizziness and racing heart and near fainting to being hungry or dehydrated from working out.

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    Raising a Toddler with a Stroke Survivor

    I used to stereotype stroke patients. They were older. They were smokers or had a few unhealthy lifestyle habits. They were probably retired with grown children. This stereotype, I sadly learned firsthand, is nowhere near reality. I never expected my then 37 year-old, physically fit husband to have a stroke. Certainly not in the first two years of marriage – and absolutely not when our daughter was just a few months shy of turning two.

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