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An American Heart Survivor Story

By American Heart Association

An American Heart Survivor StoryTwo days after Christmas, Julie Rickman, then 41, thought she was having an allergic reaction to her Christmas tree. After a trip to the emergency room, and sharing her family history of heart disease, doctors ordered testing that revealed
Julie had suffered a silent heart attack with two blockages in her heart sometime in the past month.

“All I could think about was my three year-old son, Patrick, and I wondered if I would be able to watch him grow up,” says Julie.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, yet it is 80% preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history.

Julie encourages all women to schedule a well-woman visit with their health care provider. It’s an annual check-up that gives your doctor the chance to spot the signs of heart disease while there’s still time to take necessary steps to conquer it. The well-woman visit is also a great opportunity for your doctor to be on the lookout for other health concerns.

“If you want to watch your children grow up, know your family history and share this information with your doctor at your well-women visit!

Your children want their mommy in their life,” says Rickman.

Julie knows, firsthand, the importance of eating right, exercising and setting a good example for her family. She enjoys bike rides with her son (now 10) and has completed numerous 5K races since her heart attack. Today, Julie is passionate about educating women about heart disease.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved in Kansas City’s American Heart Association, visit or call 913-652-1914.

Why we are
Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are main causes of death. Survivors, volunteers, advocates, healthcare providers, donors – all are building healthier lives.

What We do
We’re building healthier lives where you live and work – in the community, health care, education and research.

How You can help
Touch hearts – save lives. Here’s the chance to make a real difference!
We need YOU! Volunteer!

Find Us
Regional Office
6800 W. 93rd Street
Overland Park, KS 66212
Phone: (913) 652-1914

Knit or crochet red baby hats
for Kansas City area babies born during American Heart Month

The American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation have launched the third year of Kansas City’s Little Hats, Big Hearts. The program that dons newborns with knitted red caps raises awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country. All babies born at participating hospitals during the month of February will receive a hat.

Donate Red Hats by January 5, 2018
The American Heart Association is asking for volunteers to knit or crochet red baby hats to distribute to participating hospitals. Participation is easy, go to to find knitting patterns, participating AHA offices and more. The AHA is also accepting donations to support the program, including yarn, for those who would like to contribute but don’t knit or crochet. All local donations must be received at the American Heart Association’s office in Kansas City (6800 W 93rd Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66212) by January 5. Hats can be mailed or delivered in person during business hours. Any hats delivered after the deadline will be distributed in 2019.

“Little Hats, Big Hearts brings attention to congenital heart defects – a condition that affects about 40,000 babies born in the U.S. each year,” says William Foley, Executive Director of The Children’s Heart Foundation. “We’re proud to be part of this program as it brings together the community to rally around those families affected by CHD. We also would like to thank all the incredible volunteers that share their time and talent to make this program possible.”

“Last year, the American Heart Association in Kansas City collected a whopping 6,600 hats, fulfilling the needs of all participating hospitals in the KC metro and surrounding areas.
I had the opportunity to see some of these hats be distributed to babies, first-hand, which was an amazing experience, and something we are excited to continue,” said DeEtta Lee, Communications Director for the American Heart Association.

Little Hats, Big hearts began in Chicago in 2014. The project has grown to include 660 hospitals in 40 states handing out more than 100,000 hats. In addition to using red hats to raise awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects, Little Hats, Big Hearts also drives awareness for the American Heart Association’s Support Network, an online forum for families affected by heart disease and stroke.


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