Tamika Quinn is a woman you don’t forget. Ex-military, now a self-made entrepreneur with a charitable ‘side business,’ she’s making her mark on the world. She is a veteran, a mother, a business woman, and a stroke survivor.
Like many people in her family, Tamika struggled with her weight throughout her life, and was diagnosed with high blood pressure while pregnant with her youngest daughter.
On Feb. 22, 2002, 10 days after her daughter was born, Tamika woke up with an excruciating headache. Her regular doctor wasn’t available so she went to an urgent care clinic where she was given painkillers and medication for high blood pressure. The pain intensified, so Tamika went to the ER where she was diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke. She had a second stroke three days later.
It took months for Tamika to recover her ability to walk and speak, and she continues to deal with long- and short-term memory loss and muscle control. The strokes were a wake-up call to take her health more seriously. She began to prioritize her health to ensure that a family history of heart disease didn’t become a family legacy.
Tamika is now an advocate for heart health, encouraging women to know their numbers and make lifestyle changes that can make a difference. “I know the value of my life, having almost lost it,” she said. “I want to go forward and live the best life I can.”
Tamika’s story doesn’t define her, but it has shaped who she is today. She is stronger because of her life experiences. Now, she is channeling her passion to become an advocate for heart health, encouraging women to know their numbers and make lifestyle changes that can make a difference.
That includes Tamika using her life experiences to help influence policy change in Virginia. During the 2018 General Assembly session, Tamika tirelessly advocated for improvements in the quality of stroke care for the 3,200 Virginians who have a stroke each year. She used her personal story to help legislators understand stroke is a time sensitive emergency requiring coordination of EMS, hospitals, and doctors.
She is one story and there are many Virginians with stories similar to hers. This is why Tamika is passionate about improving the health of Virginians. This is why she advocates for all Virginians to have access to healthy and nutritious foods. And, this is why she worked to improve the care of stroke patients in Virginia.