Sometimes the biggest advocacy voices come in the tiniest packages. One such story comes from heart survivor, Adyson Coleman. She has inspired and moved lawmakers with her struggles and smile over the past year. We wanted to share her story and hope she inspires you as much as she has inspired us.
Adyson’s parents, Christa and Curt became inspired to tell their daughter’s story after attending the Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling in 2016. Hearing the stories of other survivors, especially one who had faced the same heart condition as Adyson, motivated them to get involved with the American Heart Association.
When Adyson’s mother was five months pregnant, she found out that her daughter would have Down Syndrome. For five years Adyson lived with an undetected heart defect. She had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) as well as Pulmonary Hypertension. Children with Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities have an increased risk for pulmonary hypertension, as do children with congenital heart defects. Adyson had both.
The VSD, a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart, would require open heart surgery. During her first heart catheterization doctors said her pulmonary hypertension was too high for surgery and she was started on medication to lower her blood pressure and reduce strain on her heart. Thankfully, the drugs worked and in January of 2016 Adyson had open heart surgery to repair the hole. The surgery was successful.
Since her surgery, she has regular check-ups with her doctors and all reports indicate a bright, heart-healthy future for Adyson. Her family has also been involved with the American Heart Association in several ways, specifically with our Advocacy department focusing on helping advance policies that improve the heart health of all Arkansans. Last month, Adyson was a featured heart survivor at the 2017 Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery Unveiling at the Arkansas State Capitol, the same event where she was inspired to share her story and become an advocate just a year earlier.
We are thankful for advocates like Adyson and her parents that are willing to share their story to inspire and advance public policy for heart health. Would you like to share your story and get involved with the advocacy efforts of the American Heart Association? We would love to hear from you! Please email Allison.Hogue@heart.org.