I am Candida, a heart sister, survivor, and your advocate! I advocate for women across the world who have developed Postpartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM), women who lost the battle, and families who carry on a legacy for my heart sisters who have lost their lives.
I am 33 years old and I stand proud and healed today after 13 years of being diagnosed with one of the most aggressive diseases that a woman could experience after giving birth. I made a promise to myself and other women just like me to raise awareness worldwide and that is what I am doing, that’s who I am, and it is what I stand for!
Shortly after giving birth to my first set of twins, I developed PPCM.
I was near death when I was diagnosed because it took so long to actually diagnose me and doctors really didn’t know what was wrong with me, I was a rare case. There weren’t any support groups in my area and I felt alone.
Today, I will continue on with raising awareness and saving my sisters lives one by one or as a community. I made a vow to start my own support group on Facebook (PPCM:Faces of Women) to reach women and offer support virtually. The group is growing and has been very successful in reaching women to offer support. We are currently working on organizing groups worldwide for women to meet face-to-face monthly.
Currently, we have the fortunate opportunity to have the following groups ready to meet new women and save more lives:
Candida Akins - Florida & Georgia
Amy Lantz - Ohio (Defiance, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Toledo, Archbold)
Stacy Gonzalez - Trenton, New Jersey & surrounding counties
Lindsey McCutchen - St. Louis, Missouri Suburbs
Ebony Smith-Thomas - St. Louis, Missouri
Sade Luster - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Kristan Holland - Greenville, South Carolina & Hendersonville, North Carolina
Beth Cullen Crutcher - Nashville, Tennessee
Heidi Ross - Southern Central, Bakersfield, California (North or South)
Felicia Guillory - Central Texas
Kyla Rountree Davis- Eastern New Mexico, TX (West & Hobbs)
In addition, we will raise awareness by supporting the Faces of Women initiative with the intention of showing women that we are beautiful in spite of PPCM by submitting professional portraits to the American Heart Association along with our stories that are intended to give hope, raise awareness, give courage and faith.
If you are a PPCM survivor, if you know someone who is a survivor, and if you lost a relative to PPCM, please join us to continue to spread awareness and save lives of our fellow sisters.
Candida & Heart Sisters of Faces of Women Support Group