KALAMAZOO, Mich. — American Heart Association's Go Red for Women luncheon, scheduled for Thursday in Kalamazoo, focuses on pushing the community to learn CPR in hopes of saving lives.
“I was just in shock, and I stayed in shock for a while," survivor Carrie Hamilton said.
That shock came to Hamilton in the form of a heart attack at just 38 years old, setting her off on a journey to spread awareness of heart health.
“Shock, disbelief,” she remembered.
Carrie discovered, she suffers from a condition called SCAD, or spontaneous coronary artery dissections, meaning tears in the artery wall.
“There’s no amount of prevention, there is no amount of test that can predict this," she said. "It just happens out of the blue. It’s a lightning strike.”
This condition typically targeting young healthy women like Carrie, out of nowhere.
“Well, it was spontaneous,” she said.
So, was her second heart attack—nearly 20 months after the first.
“First time, I kind of got hit by a bus, the second time I got hit by a freight train," she said.
The second time she underwent an emergency double bypass and was in a coma for a week.
Years later, Carrie shares her story in hopes of bringing other survivors hope.
“I want to let them know they’re not alone and to share the message you don’t have to be over 50 or over 60 to have a heart attack,” Hamilton said.
Her heart journey left her changed, forever.
“I am happier. I am freer. I have found so many silver linings to having a heart attack," she said. "I would never wish having a heart attack on anybody. It’s not fun. It’s not pain free. It is traumatic. But I’m happier."
If you want to get tickets to today’s luncheon, click here.
News Channel 3’s Kristen Aguirre is emceeing the 2023 luncheon.