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Stroke Strikes Close to Home


Guest Blogger: Marc Watterson, Utah Government Relations Director

Each of us who supports the AHA|ASA has our own unique path that brings us here. As the preeminent health organization that leads the fight against America’s #1 and #5 causes of death (heart disease and stroke) it is difficult to find anyone who hasn’t been significantly impacted by the death or disability of a loved one who has been impacted by these terrible diseases.

Here at the AHA|ASA we recently went through a little rebranding through our “Life is Why” campaign. This beautiful campaign (click here to watch a short video) draws in each of us to reflect upon the reason(s) why we engage in our life-saving mission and work. For some, it is Life, for others it could be a specific family member, friend, or loved one. Whatever the reason(s) for us being here, each of us came with a desire and the motivation to make a difference; to change the statistics; to make a significant impact in the fight against cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

A few months ago I had a chance to share with you a story of how our work to get CPR taught in every high school is already making an impact and saving lives. Moments like these have led me to develop my own personal mantra of “Saving lives is Why”. And while saving lives continues to be a personal motivation, the experiences of the past few weeks have drawn my attention a little bit closer to home.

My wife’s grandmother recently passed away from a hemorrhagic stroke. By all accounts, she was young and healthy. She will also be terribly missed. Our family was heartbroken as someone so close to us passed away much too soon. Her passing has caused all of us to reflect not only on the memories we will cherish of her, but also those moments that we might have let pass us by – those memories that could have been made but other things in life may have gotten in the way. It is in these moments when I have experienced a paradigm shift – or a change in the way I think about things. Losses such as these have a way of helping you understand that there truly is a price on time, on moments, and on memories. And that price is paid in the moments of lament afterward asking the grand question “What if …?”  

And so, as I reflect on the recent passing of our grandmother I find that my motivations, my “why”, is beginning to change – and that this change reinvigorates me to continue on in the work we do. For me, family – and the memories I want to make with them – are why I continue on in my fight to help me – and others – to lead healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Continue on with us in our journey and our life-saving Mission. For with you, together, we can and will be the cure.

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