I have been participating in advocacy work with the American Heart Association for a number of years because I am a strong proponent of their mission and long-term goals. Annually, I have taken university students to Advocacy Days at the State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, to support and encourage the legislators to pass bills which impact the goals of the American Heart Association in our state.
In June 2017, I was also fortunate enough to be able to attend Congressional Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. We met with representatives from our state in the House and Senate to promote legislation specific to the American Heart Association. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and speaking with key people to promote such a worthy cause.
Fast forward to August, 2017, and my advocacy work took on new meaning for me! I had open heart surgery and four bypasses to repair a “left bundle blockage”. I have been an active individual and daily exerciser with no symptoms or family history of heart disease, so this was quite a surprise to me, as you can imagine. I had been feeling a little more tired than usual after exercising and pursued that with my primary care doctor.
As a result of my “heart event,” I am an even bigger supporter of early diagnosis, cardiac rehabilitation programs, and continual follow-up throughout the life-span with the primary care personnel as well as the specialists involved with my care. I plan on continuing my advocacy work with the American Heart Association with renewed vigor and dedication!