When we gathered five heart attack survivors, their caregivers, and patient advocacy group Mended Hearts for a Survivors Have Heart event hosted by Bob Harper, health and fitness expert, author, and heart attack survivor in New York City, we knew they were in for some emotional surprises. The three-day event was filled with heartfelt discussions and inspiring lessons, where lifelong connections were made with other heart attack survivors. The most unforgettable experience, however, was an intimate sit-down conversation with Bob to share their personal heart attack stories and celebrate survivorship.
We asked Bob to share more of his personal reflections about the experience:
What was the Survivors Have Heart event like for you?
Bob: The day was absolutely fantastic. I got to meet and hear each of the five heart attack survivors and their caregivers’ stories. There was just so much love and vulnerability in that room. It truly was a very meaningful experience to me to connect with other heart attack survivors and launch a ‘Survivors Club.’
How did you feel about having each of the heart attack survivors’ caregivers with them?
Bob: It was an incredible change in perspective, to be able to see each of the survivors through the eyes of their respective caregivers. I really look forward to sharing more information highlighting some of these personal interactions and experiences later!
Could you tell us a little about your own heart attack experience?
Bob: Well, I was in a gym just over a year ago now, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital two days later being told that I had suffered a heart attack and almost died.
My friends that were in the gym said “You came in. You were doing your workout, and the next thing we knew you were laying on the floor.” The help of my friends, the coach, and a doctor who happened to be in that gym that day is what saved my life.
What role did your caregivers play in your healing process?
Bob: I relied on my friends, family and doctors to carry me through this journey, and that is the one thing that I’ve always told fellow heart attack survivors: you have got to be able to ask for help; you have got to put your pride aside; you’ve got to put away everything and just know that they’re there to help you.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the Survivors Have Heart event?
Bob: What I loved so much about the day is it gave people a voice to describe what they went through, and it helped form a bond and a sense of community. It was cathartic, and I just keep thinking about all of the good we can do for other heart attack survivors.
Thanks to Bob Harper and all of our Survivors Have Heart event participants! Look for more information highlighting key moments from the event soon.