My “why” is my family. I started volunteering for the American Heart Association about 32 years ago after my dad, Louie Breja, suffered a heart attack in July of 1985.
hero_image_alt_text===Joan Fishburn headshot
thumbnail_alt_text===Joan Fishburn headshot
bottom_action===Joan Fishburn headshot
Dad had triple heart bypass surgery, and being an active dairy farmer he had to change his lifestyle to heart healthy until his death in March 1997. When my mother and father changed their eating habits and began to exercise, I started to change my family’s lifestyle as well as our children that were newborn/toddler ages.
About 2 years after my dad’s surgery our youngest son, Aaron, was only 15 months old when he was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis with atrial septic defect. Aaron had surgery early in his sophomore year of high school to repair the holes. He continues to lead a healthy lifestyle with daily exercise and continues to volunteer his time with me at several local events to promote healthy habits.
In March 2016 my mother, Margaret, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She maintained a heart healthy lifestyle under the care of Hospice until her death this April 2017.
I will continue to volunteer my time to the American Heart Association through Go Red for Women luncheons, Heart Walks, and Heart Galas. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle along with exercise and wellness in the workforce and community is important.
Today I teach CPR/AED/Choking classes in the community, dental offices, doctors’ offices, schools, etc. Along with weekly classes, I teach at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and continue to promote good lifestyle habits as our family grows with the addition of grandchildren.