Up until 10:20pm on Friday, March 22 2013, I was living what felt like a normal, happy life. I had a decent job, good friends, a nice apartment. I had all my ducks in a row. Then the phone rang, and my whole world was shattered. My dad had no prior symptoms, but the fact remained – at 57 years old, he had died of a heart attack. Life, as I knew it, was forever changed.
I spent the next few months secluded from the people I once surrounded myself with, obsessively researching heart disease: the cause, the prevention, the alarming statistics. According to the CDC, about half of men who die suddenly from a heart attack have no prior symptoms and in most cases – if not all – heart disease is completely preventable with simple diet and lifestyle changes. I was floored by this information, and knew I had to make it my mission to get the word out.
I immediately enrolled in nutrition school to become certified as a health coach and formed my company, Happy Healthy Hearts, where I encourage people to take control of their health with small changes – and have fun doing it!
Since losing my dad three and a half years ago, I’ve published two health and wellness books and been recognized by the American Heart Association for my dedication to raising awareness about heart disease. I co-host a weekly broadcast on a variety of health issues and share tips, tricks, and other resources for a happier, healthier heart on Facebook every Friday.
The way I see it: If I can help prevent one daughter from losing her father before he can walk her down the aisle, before he meets his grandchildren, before he gets to enjoy retirement, before he gets to finish living out his hopes and dreams and watch her live out hers, then I’ll feel like my mission was a success.
Kimberly Petrosino, Founder of Happy Healthy Hearts
(Long Island, NY)