Nine months ago, Traci Gunter of Gadsden miraculously survived a heart attack while driving to work. She was 23.
Upon recovery, Traci adopted a personal mission to be an advocate for women's heart health. Her first stop was the American Heart Association. After speaking with local staff, Traci offered to engage with You're the Cure, Heart Walk, and Go Red For Women.
Through You're the Cure, Traci serves on the AHA's Alabama Advocacy Committee. She works closely with advocates and staff across the state to speak up for state and local policies that build longer, healthier lives. She also traveled to Washington, DC in October for the AHA's federal lobby day, and joined fellow advocates in urging Congress to increase NIH's funding for heart disease and stroke research, to stop the sell of all flavored tobacco products, and to prevent surprise medical billing.
When she arrived home, she shared her story with a local paper, The Gadsden Messenger. In the article, she shares, "I want to spread awareness about heart health to everyone, but especially young women. I’m a young female, and I never expected anything like that [heart attack] to happen. I just want people to know it doesn’t matter how old you are or what physical shape you are in."
In addition to her advocacy work, Traci raises funds locally with Heart Walk and Go Red For Women. Gunter will be a guest speaker at the Gadsden Heart Walk on April 9, just a couple weeks before her one-year anniversary of her heart attack.
Aside from her volunteer work with the AHA, Traci is the founder of "It Takes HEART," a public Facebook group geared towards females who have experienced either first hand or are familiar with heart defects and complications. While "It Takes HEART" is primarily for women in Alabama, anyone is welcome to join!
Traci is a passionate advocate for women's heart health and has done much work in the past nine months and shows no signs of slowing down. Her passion truly fuels her - and we are thankful for her commitment to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
Written by Julie Howell, Grassroots Manager for the American Heart Association.