I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends. My Thanksgiving was extremely poignant this year.
My younger sister Kate passed away from Pulmonary Hypertension on November 17th. This rare heart condition strikes young women and is very difficult to diagnose and treat. Kate had an auto-immune disorder called Raynaud’s which led to PH. When she was first diagnosed, I “googled” PH and one of the very first links was back to a Journal of Circulation article from 1960. The American Heart Association also currently funds a large number of research grants at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center—where Kate got her diagnosis and spent her last days.
This reinforces to me the importance of the American Heart Association’s research initiatives. Without us, young women will continue to succumb to heart disease and stroke. This is why what we do is so important. We are the cure. Actually, you are the cure.
Although what I ask you and others to do every day has little to do with test tubes and beakers, it is just as vitally important.
The American Heart Association’s advocacy efforts lead to long-term systemic changes that improve the health of everybody. Maybe we could not save Kate, but passing laws to require high school students be trained in hands only CPR; to ask all birthing centers to do one simple test for congenital heart disease before a baby goes home; and funding valuable prevention efforts will save other young moms like Kate.
That is what I thought about on Thanksgiving…and will keep in my heart going forward.
Thank you for all you do to prevent heart disease and stroke.