American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Andrea Karpinski, New Hampshire.

by Maria G. on Friday, September 14, 2012

On May 7th 2011, I went to my health club to get in a workout before studying for my college finals. I went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the treadmill. Luckily, the woman exercising next to me called 911 and someone did CPR on me until EMTs arrived in time to save my life with an automated external defibrillator (AED).

I am Andrea Karpinski, a recent college graduate. I was born with an inherited heart condition, and just two years ago I survived sudden cardiac arrest.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a congenital heart disease that runs in my family. I have lost many family members to this disease including my mother at age 49, who had a defibrillator implant after many years of heart attacks and eventually suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak, and my oldest sister at age 20, who died from sudden heart failure while studying abroad.

I feel incredibly blessed to have been given a second chance at life because someone took the time to learn CPR.   I continue to advocate for the American Heart Association, sharing my story with Congress, asking their support of research funding and healthier lunches in schools. I have been keynote survivor speaker at the AHA’s "Go Red For Lunch" luncheon and hopefully inspired other woman to take steps to protect their own heart health.