I was able to do something super special this past weekend. Being a heart survivor myself, I know it seems like you’re all alone when you’re going through your diagnosis. The American Heart Association actually has a Support Network now that is made up of survivors, caregivers, family members and friends whose lives have been changed by cardiovascular issues. I wish they had this back in 2006. I didn’t think anyone understood what I was experiencing.

When I joined the network I did a search and found 3 posts relating to the heart complication that I went through. I know what I had was rare. I made a post to let people know that I was okay and they can pull through as well. Within a few hours someone commented and told me they chose to try the medication route and try to avoid having the surgery but they felt comfort in my success.

I shared my story with anyone that would listen that came to the table during the luncheon. I passed out information and also heard really inspiring stories from others. Strangers gave me big hugs and thanked me for being brave and sharing what I went through with them. It’s honestly the least that I can do. I don’t want anyone else that I know to be affected by something heart related. It’s life changing–and for some it ends their life. 1 in 3 is too many.

If you feel inclined, join the network. The Support Network is free, easy and secure. There aren’t any membership fees and you’ll also gain access to monthly Q&A sessions with health professionals and forums to share your experience or simply provide support to others.