Kelly Sosnowski (right) and her mother, Susan Hodgins, at an AHA Go Red for Women event in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Sosnowski) After taking her daughter to softball practice, Kelly Sosnowski popped over to the mall to run an errand. Walking inside, she felt a heavy pain in her chest and upper back. She…

Congenital heart disease survivor Jase Tawata last December near his home in Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Tawata) Like many first-time moms, Stephanie Tawata was anxiously navigating the ups and downs of a newborn. She was grateful that her son, Jase, slept a lot, but he was tiny and slow to gain weight. At times,…

Thinking she’d just dislocated her shoulder, Kelly Kleiner was in fact having a massive heart attack. (American Heart Association) Feeling hot, nauseous and in pain after snow skiing in Missouri with her family, 40-year-old Kelly Kleiner tried getting some relief in a restroom at the lodge. Minutes later, her youngest daughter found Kelly on the…

Stroke and COVID-19 survivor Alvis Whitlow (right) with her daughter, Marranda Edwards. (Photo courtesy of Marranda Edwards) “Something’s not right,” Marranda Edwards told her aunt in San Antonio. “I’m coming there.” Edwards, who lives outside of Atlanta, had been worried for several days. Her mother, Alvis Whitlow, hadn’t been calling as often as usual, which…

He thought it was heartburn, but TV news director Eric Olsen was having a heart attack. (Photo courtesy of Eric Olsen) Eric Olsen’s energy was lacking. His mother thought he sounded tired on the phone. A work colleague noticed he didn’t seem like himself. Then he found himself doubled over in his kitchen, gripping the…

Nurse Donulaé Knuckles survived a stroke, and it fueled her to take her career to the next level. (Photo courtesy of Donulaé Knuckles) Because of her last name, Donulaé Knuckles has long answered to “Nurse Knuckles.” Yet the grit and determination the name conjures fits, too. Raised by a single mom in Detroit, she prioritized…

Heart disease survivor Abrielle Tallquist with the family’s puppy, Liberty. (Photo courtesy of the Tallquist family) Jennifer and Patrick Tallquist were resting peacefully with their 1-day-old daughter Abrielle when a nurse entered their hospital room to give the newborn a test. The nurse hooked up 6-pound “Abbi” to a monitor that checked her heartbeat. Minutes later,…

Rev. Eddie Woods went from feeling healthy to needing a heart transplant – all during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of City Point Church) On the Friday before Mother’s Day, the Rev. Eddie Woods did his best to hide his discomfort. Short of breath and lightheaded, he didn’t want his wife, Julie, to notice. He…

Kendel Christoff became the fourth generation of women in her family to have a heart attack. (Photo courtesy of Kendel Christoff) In Hubbard, Ohio, a truck-stop town off Interstate 80, Kendel Christoff had her pick of fast food. One day for lunch, she downed a double cheeseburger with a side of nuggets. The next, it…

Meteorologist Mark Larson at KWCH in 2020. (American Heart Association) Meteorologist Mark Larson was preparing for his noon television show in Wichita, Kansas, when he started to feel foggy and fatigued. Out of nowhere, sharp pain stabbed the inside of his left elbow. He knew he was in no shape to appear on air and…