“My experience at the WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium [in October of 2017] was an amazing one. I went there knowing that I would get to meet other heart survivors and learn a bunch of new information. What I didn’t know was the strong friendships I would end up building with other survivors, as well as the emotional journey for me being surrounded by so many amazing women,” says Amy.
Amy was 37 years old when she experienced a heart attack. One year after undergoing open heart surgery, she attended WomenHeart’s Science & Leadership (S&L) Symposium in Rochester, MN.
“Doctors focus on your physical recovery, but they don’t discuss the emotional recovery. And you can have all the support in the world from friends and family, but when you get the chance to be around people who know firsthand what you’re going through, it really aids in your recovery,” she says.
Amy describes the experience of attending S&L as finding a sisterhood that you never knew you needed, though she adds it was a very emotional time. Hearing so many powerful and relatable stories at S&L caused her to relive much of what she had gone through. However, she adds, “It was like when you go to the movies and you cry, but when you’re done, you feel better.”
Currently serving as co-coordinator of the Greater Lehigh Valley Support Network in PA, Amy says S&L gave her the information and the tools to speak confidently about women’s heart disease and engage with her community. Her proudest moment as a co-coordinator has been a series of many moments—each time a woman in her community says she has inspired her to take her feelings about her own health seriously and advocate for herself.
“No one wants to have to go through something like [heart disease],” she says, “But if you find yourself in that position, going to the Science and Leadership Symposium can change your life for the better.”