WORCESTER – The American Heart Association recognized a local survivor and volunteer with the Heart Hero Award at the 2019 Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Walk. on Saturday, March 11 at Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester, MA.
Chrissy Gaffney, of Worcester, MA, was awarded the Heart Hero Award for her constant efforts to raise awareness and funds for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease hits close to home for Chrissy, her own experience with it started at 12-years-old where she underwent open-heart surgery for an atrial septic defect, which was undetected at birth.
While the condition was always a concern, she grew up without physical restrictions until age 45. While exercising, Chrissy felt a crushing pain in her chest that was making it difficult to breathe. She drove herself home and after two weeks of experiencing light headedness, fatigue, and shortness of breath, she went to the doctor. Chrissy didn’t think these symptoms were related to her heart, but she was diagnosed with atrial flutter, requiring two cardioversions and a catheter ablation. She underwent the same procedures again three years later.
The atrial flutter is still a part of Chrissy’s life, along with congestive heart failure. Thanks to her healthy diet, exercise routine, and knowledge of her health, Chrissy is alive today and advocating for survivors like her. Chrissy has demonstrated exceptional dedication to volunteering and raising awareness for heart disease.
“I’ve always been a happy person who loves to laugh every day and having heart disease doesn’t always make that easy.” Said Chrissy, “As a survivor, I feel my purpose in life is to raise awareness of heart disease and how survivors can live a happy, healthy life.”