Newsletter Advocate Stories
Dana, Paul and Sam, Pennsylvania
When I was pregnant with each of our boys, my husband and I did not know their gender. We wanted to be surprised. We didn't care if we had boys or girls, "as long as they're healthy." We said it dozens of times, never imagining something would be wrong with one of our children. We took it for granted.
My Story: Erv Inniger
Meet Erv Inniger. Erv is a survivor, an advocate, and a champion for the chain of survival. He woke up that August day feeling his typical 100% A-OK. The last thing he expected was to be having heart surgery an hour and a half later that day. Erv shares his story of survival and why he believes in having a strong system of care in North Dakota - to save lives from heart attack.
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Lisa, Donny and Jack Scarfo, Pennsylvania
Jack was prenatally diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex congenital heart defect, prior to his birth on April 15, 2008. Jack and his twin brother, Nathan, were delivered in Philadelphia in the event that Jack should require his open heart surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia immediately after birth.
My Story: Roxy Burnside
Roxy Burnside knows firsthand how immediate bystander CPR and AED’s accessible in public places can save lives. It saved hers. Roxy’s survival story from a heart attack began the evening of November 20 in Fargo at the Holiday Lights parade. Burnside was dressed in an elf costume, handing out candy and walking with co-workers alongside her company’s float.
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Cathy Seitz, Pennsylvania
On January 4th, 1994, I suffered from a heart attack. I was only 33 years old. My youngest child was born three months earlier. I was holding him and feeding him a bottle when I felt shortness of breath and a little chest discomfort. Then my arm started to ache. I thought he was getting heavy, so I finished feeding him and laid him down. And that is how my story begins.
Annette and Rebekah Salser, Ohio
Rebekah was pink at birth. The only negative I heard was that she was an 8 out of 10 on the scale they judge the quickness for babies to turn pink. The pediatrician wasn’t concerned because it was not "unusual." I didn't know what a pulse oximeter was in 1985, and I don't remember ever seeing one when in the hospital following her birth. I do know that when she had her first surgery at 8 months, a pulse oximeter was placed on her foot, so I know they existed. Had one been available, I have to believe Rebekah would have been diagnosed before we left the hospital to bring her home.
Kim Leo, Pennsylvania
A little over ten months ago, I suffered a massive heart attack. It was one week to the day of my 47th birthday, one that I almost didn’t have the chance to celebrate. Other than taking medication for hypertension, I was considered to be in great health. My daily routine included at least 30 minutes of cardio activity. I ate a very healthy diet and was a non-smoker.
Don Bernhagen is Why
Two months after suffering a cardiac arrest, I was alive to welcome my first grandchild to the world. Three years ago while working at my job in construction at a local school, I suffered sudden cardiac arrest and slumped to the floor.
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Tamara Claycomb, Pennsylvania
On September 5, 2010 my family’s life was changed forever by cardiovascular disease. My husband was a long time basketball coach, active golfer, and constantly working at things around and in the house. He had just had a full medical checkup with normal lab results. He was feeling “funny” that day and collapsed in our living room from a heart attack. I called 911 and began CPR. We have no local ambulance service in our rural town and it was over 50 minutes until they arrived. It was too late.
Ashley and Crystal Hosey, Pennsylvania
Crystal Hosey is an energetic and delightful 4-year-old who was born with a heart defect. At first, the hospital pediatrician thought she had a heart murmur, but at Crystal’s one week checkup with her regular pediatrician he thought it was something more serious. After testing, it was determined that Crystal was born with only three of her four heart valves. She underwent her first surgery in July of 2007. Doctors put a conduit (a small tube like piece of plastic) in her heart to replace the valve that was missing. This is a temporary fix and as Crystal grows the conduit will not grow with her, so she will continue to need surgeries.