When Michelle Johnston died, she came back to life in many ways. One of them was advocating for the American Heart Association. She never stops.
Michelle is a seven-year sudden cardiac death survivor. In the years since her event at the age of 38, she has been working tirelessly to prevent heart disease. A big champion of CPR that saved her life, she helped us pass legislation in Vermont five years ago requiring hands-only CPR to be taught to high school students. But she didn’t stop there. Over and over again she’s gone to bat for life safe-saving legislation.
This year, she traveled to Washington, DC with us again to stress the importance of research funding and cardiac rehab legislation to federal lawmakers.
Listen to her own words below concerning why she feels this is so important.
The reason I am alive is because of CPR. Everything about me being alive is because of years of research from the AHA that started with 25 minutes of CPR, to the 12-lead EKG's in the ambulance that forwarded info to the hospital so when I arrived a plan was in place to save me, to hypothermia treatment while in the MICU, to the countless doctors and nurses who over the years received support from AHA, to the ICD implanted in my chest, to daily medications I take but most importantly to the Cardiac Rehab I had when I left the hospital.
I am alive today and who I can continue to be because of the AHA. America (and the rest of the world) needs continued funding from NIH for continued research. I want to know why what happened to me happened so it doesn't happen to another. I am a Survivor, an Advocate, a AHA Board of Director in Vermont, co-chair of the Advocacy Committee, Circle of Red member, Executive Leadership Committee Member for Go Red for Women, a AHA Spokesperson, a Heart Walker and I am a mommy to the most beautiful 13 year old for whom I will continue to Volunteer as I do so she can continue to live a heart healthy life. As long as I am able to breath and speak, you will always hear me speak the words “take care of your heart, it’s the only one you have”. You will always see me support this message and help others support it as well. I will be on the front lines advocating for NIH funding, for stroke survivors and for heart disease survivors. Together we can do this.