Heart attack survivor and “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Nigel Lythgoe at an American Heart Challenge event in San Diego in May. (Photo by Sheri Tennison Berg for AHA) Reality TV brought fame and fortune to Nigel Lythgoe. So, it’s no surprise he can spin entertaining tales about the real-life drama he experienced…

Sarah Jane Stallings with her husband, Bo. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Parsley) One of the first things Sarah Jane Stallings did when she and her husband, Bo, took over the CrossFit gym in her hometown of Russellville, Arkansas, earlier this year was to start a Fit over Fifty program. Sarah Jane, who goes by SJ,…

Stroke survivor Allison Zmuda with her family. From left: Cuda, Allison, Zoe and Tom. (Photo courtesy of Annie Sykes) As the author of 11 books about education, Allison Zmuda has long been a highly sought speaker about approaches to learning. Yet after giving countless speeches to teachers and school districts about the best ways to…

Heart transplant recipient Cheryl Murdock with the family of her donor, Morgan Gallegos. From left: Michaela, Austin, Murdock, Margot and Tim. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Murdock) Kurt Lefteroff knew Cheryl Murdock for nine years before they started dating in September 2001. She was 42 and seemed perfectly healthy. He didn’t know that when Murdock was in sixth grade,…

Cardiac arrest survivor Mary Smith (left) with her daughter Lindsey Bomgren, who helped save her mom with CPR. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Bomgren) In March 2017, Mary Smith took an afternoon off work to visit her daughter and 2-week-old grandson Brody at their Minneapolis suburb home. Smith brought in groceries for dinner and carried a mobile crib…

Stroke survivor A.Jaye Johnson in a photo he provided. At 44, A.Jaye Johnson was relearning how to talk, walk and perform basic skills, like using a fork. For years, he’d been the one looking out for others through his work at the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County in Oklahoma City. A stroke forced…

(Photo courtesy of Angie Bryan) Angie Bryan and her date were taking a stroll on a Saturday afternoon when she started to lag behind. Way behind. As she slowed to the point of stopping, she began to gasp for air, able to take only shallow breaths. Although she wasn’t nervous on the date – they’d…

Jennifer Michele was born with multiple small holes in her heart. (Photo by Melinda Helm) Jennifer Michele always has had a knack for sprucing up spaces. That talent prompted her to start an interior design firm in 2007. She then quickly landed the sort of high-profile design job that can make a career. Less than…

Easton Fryer (left) joins Ric Wilson, vice president of flight operations for Envoy Air, in a flight simulator. (Photo courtesy of Envoy Air) FORT WORTH, Texas – As soon as he could walk, Easton Fryer bolted into his backyard whenever he heard an airplane flying over his home in Hamilton, Montana. His second birthday party…

A heart attack led Dr. Michael Feldman and his family to change their lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Michael Feldman) For about a year, Michael Feldman occasionally got a burning feeling in his chest. An antacid tablet usually resolved it, so he figured the cause was indigestion. On April 6, 2012, the burning sensation came with…