Taunya had known her family history put her at risk. Heart disease had taken a toll on her family; several members had high blood pressure. After a hypertensive crisis she started making significant changes.
Lauri was walking back inside when she took a few labored breaths and her heart stopped. Lauri collapsed in front of 18 children, including her two oldest — Jacob, now 9, and Audrey, now 7.
In 1995, Kristen Holihan got a wonderful Christmas present four days early — the birth of her son, Tyler Matesen. But she would not take him home until after the new year, and then with overwhelming fear and anxiety.
Sabrina Robinson was at home with her son, Zachary, when she suddenly got very hot. A licensed practical nurse in a cardiologist’s office, she thought she might be having a stroke. “I called 911,” she said, “but within a minute or two I became so short of breath and dizzy that I couldn’t talk, and Zachary took over.” He had just turned 6 the week before.
Jason Philpot shares his why after surviving multiple surgeries and an aneurysm that grew from peanut-size to the size of a watermelon in just a few months.
In August 2013, Gabby woke in the middle of the night with severe heartburn and feeling like there was a huge weight on her shoulders. Much worse than symptoms she’d had the previous few weeks.
Christie Reinhardt was pregnant with twins when she experienced a life-threatening aortic dissection. “They told my family there was a surgery they could try, but I had a less than 10 percent chance of survival.”
“Cathy was on the couch with her back to me when her arm suddenly flew up,” Dennis recalled. “That was strange, so I went over and checked on her and she was already turning blue.”
When Ken slumped over in the passenger seat, Tanya didn’t have to think about what to do — after all, she is a health educator and has been teaching CPR through the American Heart Association for 15 years.
Kimberly Goodloe knew something was wrong the moment the pain began. "I came out of a class where I was a substitute teacher and grabbed my chest," she said. "It was the worst feeling."
Children teach their parents many lessons. Shannon Cockrell’s daughter Morgan Humphreys taught her mom about the physiology of the heart—and the preciousness of life.