On Saturday, September 12th I participated with 164 Dallas employees and their families in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in downtown Dallas. Employees came together and successfully raised $9,075 for heart health benefiting the American Heart Association (AHA). Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. I walked to honor my mama and this is my “Life is Why” story:

After my mother died of congestive heart failure in 2013, years passed before I realized her forgetfulness and inability to do simple tasks were symptoms of heart disease. At first, my mother’s memory loss wasn’t alarming. However, the first time she forgot something major it frightened me because my mother had always been full of life and wisdom. We thought it happened because she was just getting older and more forgetful.

Months later, doctors diagnosed my mother with congestive heart failure, but no one mentioned that this cardio vascular illness might cause memory loss or impair her cognitive skills. In the first stage of the illness, the most dramatic signs of my mother’s heart condition were all physical. The illness reduced her heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently through her body and her kidneys responded by causing her to retain fluid (water) and salt. The fluid built up in her lungs and pooled into her legs and ankles, so it because difficult for her to breathe and walk.

But as hard as it was watching her battle these challenges, the thing that saddened us the most was seeing my mother transform from a vibrant and involved woman into a flat-voiced, unresponsive stranger who seemed totally disconnected from her surroundings. I had thought long and hard about a way to honor my mama during this time in my life. This is my way of sharing my never ending love for her and others with this disease.

A HEART felt thank you to all who walked and contributed to the AHA.