By Matthew Tamburri, Guest Blogger
I have been fighting my fight for nearly 24 years. I was born with a misshaped heart and pulmonary stenosis, a thickened valve that does not fully open. The pulmonary valve allows blood to flow out of the heart, into the pulmonary artery and then to the lungs. My right ventricle is small and wrapped a little towards the back side of the heart.
At age 19, I became a Cardiac Arrest Survivor. In April 2012, my heart stopped for 15 minutes and I was put into an induced coma. I then had a defibrillator, pacemaker, and ASD closure device implanted. Since then I have had clotting in my subclavian vein, a pulmonary embolism, and multiple TIA stroke episodes due to clotting on my pacemaker lead inside of my right ventricle. I suffered head trauma from the stroke episodes and was unable to walk straight from February through August 2016.
I am extremely thankful to be able to walk at the 2016 South Jersey Fall Heart Walk. I urge others to join me in fighting against heart and stroke disease by donating and walking on October 22nd at Cooper River Walk in Pennsauken, NJ at 8:30am. I will be the keynote survivor speaker at the walk at 9:00am and would love for my family and friends to come support our cause in stopping this terrible disease that was just seconds from taking my life.
At 24 years old, I am proud to be a Cardiac Arrest and Stroke Survivor. It is now my job to help fight these diseases and to help other patients and families who are going through the same hardships my family and I have encountered over the years. By sharing my story, I encourage everyone to know the warning signs of stroke and to learn CPR in case someone around you experiences cardiac arrest.
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.