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“You gotta have heart.

All you really need is heart.

When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win,

That’s when the grin should start.

You’ve gotta have hope.

Mustn’t sit around and mope.”

 

When Richard Adler wrote these lyrics for the 1950s Broadway musical Damn Yankees, he didn’t have women with heart disease in mind, but Danielle Archer, Katie Adams, Heather Ray, Stephanie Davis, and Susan Moss are women who, despite their health struggles, have maintained hope and HEART.

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Her story: In 2017, two weeks after delivering her fourth child, Katie Adams began experiencing troubling symptoms while out with her husband. “I felt like I couldn’t breathe and had tingling sensations on the side of my neck,” she says. Her husband called 911 and was advised to take her to the hospital in Shelbyville; she was later transferred to the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center in downtown Louisville.

Her diagnosis: Doctors determined that her left anterior descending (LAD) artery had torn, a condition called spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

How she copes: Katie is part of a Kentucky SCAD survivors group on Facebook that offers support and information to others. She has also made a point to control what she can about her heart health. She walks or runs every day in an effort to improve both her physical and emotional health. “It’s stressful to live with a chronic health condition,” she says, but exercise encourages her to push through her fears.

Extra tidbit: This woman proves that life doesn’t have to stop because of heart disease. 

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