{Go Red For Womem} Celebrating 10 Years of Saving Lives

I have always been involved with the American Heart Association. As a child I participated in jump rope for heart, learned CPR with my girl scout troop, and in college I volunteered with the Twin Ports Go Red Chapter. My family has been supporting the American Heart Association since the day a little girl named Emma came into our lives. Emma taught us that life is cruel and even thou we are small we must play the hand fate dealt us.

Emma was dealt a shitty hand right from the start. You see she came into this world with a broken heart. Emma was the fist infant in Minnesota to receive a heart transplant. With that transplant we were filled with hope for a brighter day. Emma was one hell of a fighter, she gave life her all until the last breath left her body on December 29th, 1995. Emma was 3 yeas old when she left this world. Her father was robbed of the chance to walk her down the isle, and her sisters were cheated out of a best friend. From that moment I was committed to the mission of saving lives.

Fast forward a few years I was away at college in the north woods of Wisconsin far away from my family. On February 8th 2002 I called home to speak to my father. Instead of a conversation, I found out that my father was fighting for his life. I hung up the phone, my knees hit the floor and I prayed to God to take me instead. My father gave it his all, he’s an angle with one wing in the fire and someone up there was looking out for him that day. The mayo clinic fixed his heart and he was able to see his daughter graduate from college, get married, and watched her find herself. Mostly he got to stand by his daughter’s side as she recovered from a stroke.

large group Lobby dayEmma and my father were to very good reasons to volunteer with the American Heart Association. Little did I know that at 26 I would become the very survivor I was advocating for. On October 22, 2009 my life changed forever. Five days before my 27th birthday I became a pulmonary embolism with infarction and stroke survivor. I have no side effects or disabilities from my stroke. I am one of the lucky ones. I received the life saving clot busters in the nick of time and excellent care. One thing is for certain I will never look at birth control the same way again.

I went on birth control to regulate my hormones in hopes that I would become pregnant. The doctor recommended the Nuva Ring and said I should use it for a year and then try to conceive. Sadly I was on it for less than a year. Instead of a child, I had the rug ripped out from under me. The Nuva Ring took the very thing I wanted out of the equation. I want more than anything to look into a child’s eyes and know that I brought them into this world. The odds are stacked against me and the risks are far to big. So I settled on the notion that I would never be a Mom.

I know the odds, yet I am not able to quiet the desire. I love being an Aunt, heck being an aunt has made my thirst for motherhood grow. I did a lot of soul searching and faced the sun. Then one day it hit me and I knew there was still an option. The Nuva Ring may have taken my ability to carry a child away, but it will (mark my word) never take away my option to adopt a child. An that is exactly why I am going Red this year.

Left: 2009 /  Right 2013  Looking back and celebrating 4 years of Survival

Left: 2009 / Right 2013 Looking back and celebrating 4 years of Survival

I am going RED for all of the survivors who are now mothers and for all of our sisters who never got the chance to be called MOM. Because of donors like you women like me are getting the chance to be Moms. We are getting the chance to go to college, to fall in love, to get married, and to have families of our own. 10 years ago our futures looked bleak and now, now they are so bright it will set your heart on fire. Every day we are saving 330 women, every day 330 women are getting the chance to live. Young survivors are thriving, the old are spreading their wisdom, and together we are making a stand. A stand against the number one killer of women.

My dream is to one day put away my red dress and to live in a world free of stroke and heart disease. Mostly I want to look into my child’s eyes and love them with every inch of my surviving heart.

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