Advocate Spotlight: Chloe Burke

I was born with an extremely rare congenital heart defect called a myocardial bridge, where my main left artery (the artery that gives your body and brain blood and oxygen) was buried deep inside my heart rather than on top of my heart like it's supposed to be.

hero_image_alt_text===Chloe Burke
thumbnail_alt_text===Chloe Burke

I've been an athlete my entire life and was a D1 collegiate athlete and cheer captain at the University of Houston. After having a cardiac event on the field of a University of Houston football game, I spent over a year trying to find a proper diagnosis. I experienced symptoms for years leading up to this, but went undiagnosed due to my age, gender, and lack of familial history with heart issues. In fact, I was even told by doctors that I'm a hypochondriac and a "young overly dramatic girl that would probably just grow out of it in a few years".

So I kept pushing to find answers, and thank God I did or I may not be here today. Doctors told me that if I did not get open-heart surgery, I would most likely not live to see age 25. These experiences help me speak to adults, particularly women, on how to advocate for yourself and take the lead in your doctor-patient relationship. 

Chloe Burke in the hospitalChloe Burke in the hospitalChloe Burke in the hospital

Although I live in one of the biggest medical hubs in our country (Houston medical center), I had to fly to Stanford Cardiology in 2019 to have a specific open-heart surgery procedure, as Stanford is one of two places in the entire country that specializes in the surgery I needed.  The surgery was extremely debilitating and the hardest thing I've endured, but it did not stop me from achieving my dreams.  I went back to cheering at the University of Houston at 11 weeks post-surgery and spent the entire season as a captain, stunts and tumbling included, and still graduated college Summa Cum Laude.

Chloe Burke in Red

I began working with the American Heart Association as a way to use my experience and my story to help others and have been a featured speaker at the American Heart Association's lobby day. I also speak to K-12 schools across the state of Texas about how to realistically achieve lifelong preventative heart health. My story as a survivor and former elementary school teacher has been shared with the Texas Senate Finance Committee and the House of Appropriations to encourage annual funding for all public school students to receive hands-on CPR training before graduation. 

Chloe Burke giving testimony

Currently, I'm a 2023 American Heart Association Woman of Impact and Miss North Texas. In June of 2023 I will be competing for Miss Texas and I plan to continue to use my platform as an opportunity to create greater change.

Chloe Burke with the AHA

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