Tabitha Ellis was born with a hole in her heart. At two years old she had heart surgery and a valve replacement, and her scar is a constant reminder of how valuable and fragile life can be for all of us.
hero_image_alt_text===Picture of Tabitha Ellis
Tabitha's early childhood was characterized by heart monitors and breathing machines to help her heart produce enough oxygen. She suffered complications from her heart condition throughout her childhood, but recovered to become a five-sport athlete in high school. However, at 17, she suffered a mini stroke. Despite the challenges she has faced, Tabitha remains grateful for the advanced health care and technology that were available and knows that not everyone is as fortunate as her.
Today, Tabitha is an actress, and dedicates her talent and much of her free time toward raising awareness and funds to prevent heart disease and stroke - and has been particularly busy in May. After leading the inaugural NYC CycleNation event at the One World Trade Observatory, Tabitha lobbied NYC Council Members about the importance of access to affordable healthy food, joined a press conference outside City Hall to announce legislation that would remove sugary drinks from kids meals at NYC restaurants, and testified in front of the United Nations about the importance of preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular disease and stroke on a global scale.
Thank you, Tabitha, for being an amazing spokesperson and advocate - and for showing us what it truly means to have heart!