Michelle Whiteman at the 2019 Philadelphia Heart Walk. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Whiteman) Michelle Whiteman woke up and realized her left arm felt numb. She figured it was a pinched nerve and made an appointment to see her chiropractor. The 40-year-old hair stylist who was getting her master’s degree in special education felt in excellent…

Kelly Steinberg survived a rare spinal stroke during surgery for a rare tear in her aorta. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Steinberg) The day before her daughter, Maddy, turned 16, Kelly Steinberg woke up feeling a surge of energy rush through her body as she turned on her side. “I wasn’t in any pain,” Kelly said….

Dr. Akil Taherbhai went from heart bypass surgery to running marathons in less than a year. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Akil Taherbhai) Because of the lack of oxygen at such lofty altitudes, Dr. Akil Taherbhai needed four hours to climb the last mile to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the…

Jill Hollander had two open-heart surgeries and a heart transplant by age 18. (Photo by Dani McDonald) Jill Hollander was 9 when, during a visit to her cardiologist with her parents, he asked her to step outside so he could speak alone with her parents. Nonsense, she thought. “I want to be in the room…

COVID-19 and heart failure survivor, Madeline Neville. (Photo courtesy of Madeline Neville) Madeline Neville tried her best to avoid catching COVID-19 while attending Temple University in Philadelphia. In late October, she was visiting her parents near Scranton, Pennsylvania, when she learned one of her roommates had been exposed to the virus. Madeline panicked, realizing that…

Heart disease survivor Ralph Lee and his wife, Janelle, at a Go Red for Women event in Canton, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of the Lee family) For a couple of months, Ralph Lee wasn’t feeling quite right. His wife, Janelle, urged him to see a doctor. His company-scheduled physical for executives was set for shortly after…

Identical twins and heart attack survivors, Pamela Smith (left) and Patricia Wood. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Wood) As identical twins who look alike, sound alike and even have the same mannerisms, Patricia Wood and Pamela Smith are used to people mistaking them for one another. Even before birth, their heartbeats were so perfectly synchronized that…

Heart failure survivor Lupita Garcia with her daughter, Maia. (Photo by The Baby Whisperer Portraits) About 33 weeks into her pregnancy, Lupita Garcia struggled to breathe so much she slept sitting up. Three days later, she awoke with heart palpitations and chest discomfort. Garcia’s doctor suggested she get evaluated at the hospital. She left work…

Bella Wilborne was diagnosed with a serious heart defect months before she was born. (Photo by Twenty6 Moments) Latisha Wilborne was excited. She and her husband had tried for a year to get pregnant, and now, 20 weeks pregnant, she was at a doctor’s visit with her two sisters where an ultrasound would determine if…

Kristin VanSingel isn’t shy about the scars from multiple heart surgeries. (Photo by Emma Burcusel Photography) From the day Kristin VanSingel was born until now, 38 years later, her heart has set her life’s course. That path started less than 24 hours after being born when she was diagnosed with aortic stenosis and had her first…