During the spring break of my freshman year at Providence College I was scheduled for a physical with my new doctor as I was transitioning from the care of my pediatrician. I wasn’t worried. I have always been an active person, one my parents would affectionately call a gym rat. But my doctor heard a slight heart murmur and noticed that my resting heart rate seemed slower than usual. After numerous tests and appointments I was told that I needed a pacemaker. I wasn’t 80, I was 18! Today, I live a fantastic, normal, happy, and healthy life. The only difference is, now I have a pacemaker. In my personal case, routine health care and that annual physical saved my life. I decided to become a spokesperson for the American Heart Association because if I can even influence one person here to get checked, to take care of themselves, to eat healthy and stay physically active, and to know their numbers, I have done my job. I need the Heart Association to continue to advocate for research to keep me alive and healthy.
From Erin's mom, Kathy Lanni: My indoctrination into heart disease is like most; sudden and without warning. Our lives changed suddenly when after a routine physical, I learned that my 18-year-old daughter, Erin, needed a pacemaker. Time stopped. We were not prepared; after all she was an active student athlete, a regular at the gym, she ate healthy. Erin has had a pacemaker for 6 years and is alive powered by a device and a battery. She is doing great and I start every day thankful to the American Heart Association for the research they fund to treat and prevent heart disease. I know that the AHA will be tirelessly working by my side to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure heart disease. I need the American Heart Association to keep Erin alive …. Research shows you do too. Thank you AHA!