When my grandfather was a boy, he was working on the barn with his father when his father died in his arms of a heart attack. His father was in his 40s.
His mother died at about the same time, and so, with his older sister, my grandpa -- who loves learning -- dropped out of school, ran the farm and raised their younger siblings.
Heart problems don't just hurt the person who suffers with them. They impact husbands, wives, children, grandchildren and more. Protecting heart health starts with protecting health, but it also means protecting families, and that's important to me.
People have so many things on their plates these days, it can seem difficult to get involved and take on "one more thing." But little things matter. Little things done by lots of people add up and make a real difference.
People who want to make a difference can start just where they're at... and take one step. Send one email. Make one call. Attend one event. Every action counts. And the American Heart Association provides opportunities to do that.
Because of many people taking "one step," when my brother had congestive heart failure at age 30, he survived and thrived. Because of so many people taking "one step," instead of an early death like our great-grandfather faced, my brother has gone on to live a full life, bringing a beautiful bride into our family and having a beautiful child. And that's priceless.
Taking "one step" does make a difference, in the lives of people who suffer with heart problems, and in those who love them.
If you're debating taking that "one step," I encourage you to do it. If you've taken that one step -- or many more, as I know many have done, I thank you, and I encourage you to keep going. By your steps, you are making a real difference in the lives of real people.