I have been connected with Kimberly Goodloe on LinkedIn for over a year. During this period, she has shared with me her journey as a Heart Disease Survivor and as an American Heart Association Ambassador.
Kimberly is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband of 20 years, Victor and their two children, son AJ who's in the 9th grade, and daughter, Mariah who's in the 6th grade. After all of our emails during the past year, I was excited to finally get to speak to her and have her share her story with the Grow Forward & Flourish community.
Q1:What experience(s) led up to your work as an American Heart Association Ambassador?
Kimberly: On February 12, 2009, I had open heart surgery. A few days later, I had to undergo additional surgery for a pacemaker. A year later, my doctor discovered that my pacemaker wasn't working as well as it should, so I had a pacemaker revision surgery to correct the problem.
Q2: Why were these experiences instrumental in your work as an American Heart Ambassador?
Kimberly: The three surgeries put me on an emotional roller coaster. I felt a strong need to help others going through similar experiences. I had to give back in some way.
Q3: How did you become an American Heart Ambassador?
Kimberly: In 2010, I drove to the American Heart Association office in Marietta, GA. I filled out a volunteer application. After volunteering for some time, they saw that I was consistent and dependable so they asked me if I would be interested in the role.
Q4: What are the responsibilities of an American Heart Association Ambassador?
Kimberly: As an American Heart Association Ambassador, I speak throughout our community on the importance of heart health. I stress the importance of being proactive and being educated about personal health issues and taking ownership of them.
Q5: How do you suggest that people be proactive toward their health?
Kimberly: Lots of people are afraid to talk to their doctors. It's important to develop a relationship with your doctor so that he or she understands they are dealing with an informed patient. I suggest that they conduct their own research via the Internet and/or the public library. Creating a journal of your health concerns and taking it with you when you visit your doctor helps you remember issues you need to discuss. Of course, I recommend that they use the vast resources available to the public on the American Heart Association website here.
Q6: In what ways has your heart health journey changed your mindset and transformed you?
Kimberly: I am a Christian. These experiences has led me to experiencing a deeper, richer and rewarding relationship with God. When I found out that the bottom half of my heart was no longer functioning, yet I was able to function in spite of that until my pacemaker revision surgery, I felt as if I have been given another chance.
Q8: Were there moments when you felt like giving up?
Kimberly: I didn't feel like giving up. My children were young when I was undergoing these procedures. Giving up was not an option.
Q9: Who kept you motivated while you were in the hospital and now, toward the work you are doing in the community?
Kimberly: My husband, Victor, my children, AJ and Mariah, my Pastor, Church family, Radical Love Family, medical staff, family, relatives, Diamond In the Rough family, American Heart Association Staff, neighbors, & friends.
Q10: How have you stepped out of your comfort zone in your role as an Ambassador?
Kimberly: In April of this year, a group of us went to Capital Hill advocating for more funds for heart/stroke research. Walking up Independence Blvd. to the staff offices of congressmen in order for our voices to be heard has become a defining moment in my life. Attending the "You Are the Cure Rally" with others advocating for additional funding for heart/stroke research was another highlight of the trip.
Q11: What do you envision to be the legacy that you are creating with your life as an American Heart Association Ambassador?
Kimberly: So many people are suffering in silence. The legacy I am creating with my journey is to share how one can cope with heart disease in a healthy manner while dealing with daily challenges. I'm committed to educating & empowering cardiac patients & their families worldwide on the quality of life you can have after experiences such as mind. I'm spreading hope with my story while at the same time equipping people with the resources that they need. People shouldn't feel that they are alone on their journey.
Q12: What were some additional resources you utilized during your heart surgery experience?
Kimberly: Right before the surgery, I set up a calling post account which allowed my husband, Victor to key in updates about my progress and the service forwarded messages to everyone on our calling list. This made it so much easier for everyone to stay abreast of what was happening during my surgeries and while I was recuperating from them. You can find out information about this service here.
Q13: Do you have any upcoming events?
Kimberly: Saturday, October 12th, 2013: Metro Atlanta 5K Heart Walk from 8 am until 9 am. Donations support funding for heart/stroke research. I'm walking as a tribute for every woman, man & child affected by heart/stroke disease.
Q14: Last words?
Kimberly: I want to encourage those reading this post to know that whatever they may be facing, don't ever give up! Keep praying, trusting, hoping and believing because nothing is too BIG for God!
JB's Note: Both my mother and son died from cardiac arrest so the subject of heart health and funding is near and dear to my heart. I'm appreciative of this opportunity to speak to Kimberly Goodloe. I pray you were blessed as well, and that her story inspires you to take measures to live a heart healthy lifestyle while living your legacy now!
If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Living Your Legacy Now! segment, send me information on the contact page of this blog.
I would really appreciate it if you would share this post with your friends.
Until next time...
B Fearless...See Where It Gets You!
Contact information for Kimberly Goodloe.
Theheartadvocate@comcast.net : ( e-mail)
com/ ( health blog
surgery.com/journals/user/ kimberlygoodloe (heart valve journal)
Link to her Team Page for Metro Atlanta 5k Heart Health Walk: http://metroatlantaheartwalk.
kintera.org/faf/search/ searchTeamPart.asp?ievent= 1049687&lis=1&kntae1049687= 0017479876D141A58B2ECAD79251FE B9&supId=0&team=5379459&cj=Y