Rebecca beat the odds and today she is a dedicated You're the Cure advocate for heart disease and stroke survivors throughout NJ & beyond!
hero_image_alt_text===An image of advocate Rebecca Smith-Casey
Rebecca was a 15 year old sophomore at South Hunterdon Regional High School when she began experiencing dizzy spells and black outs during field hockey practice. Her coach recommended getting her blood sugar checked. However the symptoms persisted. While at rest, her heart would start racing and she would get tunnel vision and faint.
Tests revealed that Rebecca had supraventricular tachycardia, a heart arrhythmia, that required her to undergo cardiac ablation. After the procedure, Rebecca was no longer able to participate in high school sports and doctors feared that she might have limitations that would make it dangerous to drive or have children.
Rebecca had a second ablation procedure performed at age 30 and she still struggles with irregular heartbeats and low blood pressure. However, she continues to see her doctor regularly to monitor her condition and she exercises regularly.
Despite her challenges, Rebecca persisted and has thrived personally and professionally. Despite doctors’ fears, she was cleared to drive at age 16. She graduated from college, earned a masters’ degree, a law degree and most recently a doctorate in clinical psychology. She married and has a healthy son.
Rebecca is very involved in a number of charitable causes. When she began experiencing difficulties due to her condition while training for a breast cancer walk, she decided to get involved with the American Heart Association. She was invited to attend a briefing on cardiovascular health at the White House in February 2012. She has been back to Washington to advocate on behalf of the American Heart Association a few times since and currently serves as a co-chair of the AHA’s New Jersey State Advocacy Committee.