HEART ATTACK SURVIVORS UNITE !

That Moment I met someone who inspires me.  Sarah Klena.

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There are few people I admire or look up to in this world.  Those whom I do are those who have risen above the tough situations in which they have experienced.  Over the coming weeks I am going to acknowledge some of these amazing people.  Each of them has a special place in my Heart for different reasons.

One of those people is my heart sister, fellow Heart Attack Survivor, Sarah Klena from http://heartattackat31.blogspot.com/  .  I met Sarah through her blog and she even wrote a guest post here on my blog in February which I recommend you read.  We have interacted back and forth though Facebook sharing our experiences with each other and getting to know each other.

 I was in Disneyworld a few weeks ago and sent her a message asking if she would like to meet for dinner.  Plans were made.  We met on Dec 3rd at Raglan Road- A great Irish Pub ! ( my favorite place in Downtown Disney !)

To say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement.  Reading her blog shortly after my Heart Attack was so helpful and inspiring for me.  To me, it was meeting a someone who gave me hope in my recovery through reading her experiences on her blog.  She inspires, for what she survived, how she’s recovered and the attitude and honesty she chose to display.  She chose to share her story to help herself and others.

We met around 5:00 pm. I walked into the front door and there she was.  A beaming smile and a welcoming hug.  She looked healthy, beautiful and full of life.  She is also a little taller than me haha.

I was unsure of what to expect or how the night would go.  I will say this, we both can talk… A LOT. 

I cannot remember what we ordered, I do know we ate pretty healthy and that the food was pretty awesome.

I won’t go into all the details of our conversation but I will say this.  Nothing is more refreshing than speaking with someone who had been through what you have and truthfully, she definitely was far luckier than me to have survived.  Sarah had not ONE but TWO Heart Attacks and survivede at the age of 31.

One thing we both agreed on is that once something like this happens to you at such a young age you almost feel an obligation to help others, get the word out, tell people about what happened, how it can happen, how to prevent it happening.   We both would not want others to experience a Heart Attack, we both have a desire to help others and get the word out.   We are young and never thought this could happen to us.

We talked about the scary moments, being a slight hypochondriac at times, the differing emotions and experiences, the recovery and how amazing life can be.

We spent a lot of time laughing, talking about our lives post Heart Attack, how others reacted, treated us, what they said ( some people say some funny things, trust me !)  She told me of something great about her personal life! ( seriously exciting news but hers to share, not mine.  It is not on her blog yet haha !)  Before we knew it, it was past 9:00 pm and we had lost track of time.  We probably could have spoken for hours, maybe even days more.

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We almost didn’t take a photo !  We asked the server if he would take a photo of us on both our phones, and my camera.  After all, how could we have met and not had a photo together right?  

I could tell you so much more about that night however, the most important part was just being in the moment and meeting a friend that I met through chance and experience. A friend who has inspired me on my journey.  Not that I recommend having a Heart Attack to meet new friends  😉

I will say this about Sarah.  She is humble, has good energy, great attitude, is friendly, funny, engaging, strong, motivated, healthy and has a smile that has presence and light.

I have watched this amazing woman become a huge advocate for women’s heart health in the United States since the time I first sent her an email.

Time to brag about her a bit and share a few of her accomplishments.  She has appeared in the November Issue of Good House Keeping, spoken for Go Red for Women through the American Heart Association and recently appeared on an episode of Doctor Oz- Dec 17, 2013.  You can watch her 2 segments here:  http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948074010001

And here: http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948090061001

Thank you Sarah for a great evening and great conversation. Here’s to friendship, good health and kicking Heart Attack’s ass !  Now, I’ll have to get you and Lina up to Canada  haha.

-Mini-

I am Still Here :)

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Hi, remember me ?  Mini, the guy who wrote semi frequently, telling his story of a Heart Attack and a few other little tid bits?  

Well, in case you forgot, I am still around.  I needed a break from a few things badly, very badly.  MY mind was in dissaray and I could not concentrate on quite a few aspects of my life.

I was struggling with editing family photo shoots that I had taken.  It seemed like I was editing poorly and not managing my time well.  I made myself way too busy without a plan on how to manage the good that I was doing.  

I was working somewhere that I felt I could not be successful at even though I thought it had promise when I started, I thought I could do it.  I realized I could reach the objectives set before me.  I just didn’t have it in me.

Personally I struggled with wanting to be around and see people but also wanting to be alone and invisible with no way to be contacted.

I wanted to create time to volunteer more often but just had none.

I wanted time to even just let loose, but time was lost.

I struggled with where to go from here, what to do next how to move forward.

So, I took a break.  I got many photos edited, took some free time to be alone.

I also went to Disneyworld.  I spent time with my good friend Jennifer who lives there.  I needed magic.  Where else can one find some magic ?  The House of the Mouse !

It was exactly what I needed and now I am back and working on direction.  I have plans for the coming months, some goals that , for now, I will keep to myself.

In the coming weeks, I have a few blog posts coming up.  Some great things did happen.

One of the coolest things with which I need to share is that while in Disneyworld, I got to meet Sarah Klena from www.heartattack@31.com for dinner !  I have a post written about this evening her that I will share this week.

That girl is amazing and she is doing so much for Heart Health in the United States.  She inspires me 🙂

Until next time…..with many posts to come…back on track.

Mini

 

CRAP HAPPENS ! IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Tonight’s blog post comes from a man who’s brain is so stuffed full of thoughts and things I just cannot comprehend. It comes from my thoughts after not one but two Facebook posts today outlining crappy things that happened today.

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Crappy but somewhat humorous considering this is how things happen to me in general.

So here are my thoughts after a day in which I could , under normal circumstances have lost my mind.  I just don’t operate that way anymore. So here it goes…..

Dear Friends,

After what I wrote in two previous posts today, a few of you may think today was a unbelievably shitty day for me. It wasn’t.

You see, crappy things happen all the time to many people, most whom wouldn’t vocalize it. I choose to because sometimes crappy things just happen and for me, in the oddest of ways. Yes what happened sucked and my wallet is going to be lighter. But I got to experience this day.

It’s simple really. No matter how hard life kicks at me, I fight back.  I find the positive in the day.  It’s kinda who I am, what I always do.

Why? Because i just don’t let the shit bring me down as much as it could.  Life could be A LOT worse.

Why sit there and wallow in self pity or as others say ” Marks bad luck.” ? There’s no point. I am stronger than that.  

Maybe I’m nuts but I’ve had plenty of shitty things happen to me, especially the last few years.  

Each day I wake up and am continually thankful that I am simply here for yet another day. Good or bad, it’s my day and I own it. Life is to be lived and sometimes shitty things happen.

Friends, don’t worry about my “luck” because in the big picture, I’m far luckier than most and am thankful for that.

 

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Sacrifice- A Great Motivational Video I Love

Earlier this week I saw this video on a friends Facebook Page.  I watched, then watched  it again.  It caught my attention in a good way, it made me think at the way I am going about the life I am living, made me think about my dreams and goals and why I allow myself to get comfortable rather than push.

 

Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au
Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au

 

I have no doubt I will watch this video many times to remind myself to keep pushing to reach my dreams and not get comfortable.

Take a view of this video, it may or may not inspire you.  Below the Video I have added the transcript for those who wish to read it and save it.

Enjoy,

Mini.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis) Sacrifice – Motivational Video] Source: LYBIO.net

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There will never be a point in your ti — in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they – they become satisfied. People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done. You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.

I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.

And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.

Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.

Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.

The question is what are you going to do with your time. What drives you. Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day, after day. Workout after workout. Obedience after obedience. Day after day.

When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.

You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I – I challenge you to push yourself.

See it’s easy to be on the bottom, it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser. It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive in order to stay down there on a low level. But it calls on everything in you. You have to harness your WILL to say I’m going to challenge myself.

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.

Yet the biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I got a saying that: When life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.

See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying YES to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. YES to your unfolding future. YES to your potential. As opposed to saying no.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.

Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.

* die on E (die on Empty)

SACRIFICE – MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO – SPEAKERS – LES BROWN – ERIC THOMAS – RAY LEWIS. STOP RUNNING FROM YOUR PAIN AND EMBRACE YOUR PAIN. YOUR PAIN IS GOING TO BE A PART OF YOUR PRIZE, A PART OF YOUR PRODUCT. COMPLETE FULL TRANSCRIPT, DIALOGUE, REMARKS, SAYING, QUOTES, WORDS AND TEXT.

Sacrifice- A Great Motivational Video

Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au
Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au

Earlier this week I saw this video on a friends Facebook Page.  I watched, then watched  it again.  It caught my attention in a good way, it made me think at the way I am going about the life I am living, made me think about my dreams and goals and why I allow myself to get comfortable rather than push.

I have no doubt I will watch this video many times to remind myself to keep pushing to reach my dreams and not get comfortable.

Take a view of this video, it may or may not inspire you.  Below the Video I have added the transcript for those who wish to read it and save it.

Enjoy,

Mini.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis) Sacrifice – Motivational Video] Source: LYBIO.net

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There will never be a point in your ti — in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they – they become satisfied. People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done. You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.

I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.

And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.

Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.

Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.

The question is what are you going to do with your time. What drives you. Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day, after day. Workout after workout. Obedience after obedience. Day after day.

When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.

You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I – I challenge you to push yourself.

See it’s easy to be on the bottom, it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser. It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive in order to stay down there on a low level. But it calls on everything in you. You have to harness your WILL to say I’m going to challenge myself.

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.

Yet the biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I got a saying that: When life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.

See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying YES to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. YES to your unfolding future. YES to your potential. As opposed to saying no.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.

Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.

* die on E (die on Empty)

SACRIFICE – MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO – SPEAKERS – LES BROWN – ERIC THOMAS – RAY LEWIS. STOP RUNNING FROM YOUR PAIN AND EMBRACE YOUR PAIN. YOUR PAIN IS GOING TO BE A PART OF YOUR PRIZE, A PART OF YOUR PRODUCT. COMPLETE FULL TRANSCRIPT, DIALOGUE, REMARKS, SAYING, QUOTES, WORDS AND TEXT.

Stories of Survival Breast Cancer Edition.

Stories of Survival Breast Cancer Edition,

 On September 17, 2014 I had  the privilege of being the Photographer for The Canadian Breast Cancer Survivors Luncheon and Parade.

It was bittersweet really, as I lost a friend three years ago to this terrible disease.  A friend I only knew briefly but made such an impact.  Currently I have another friend surviving and thriving in the face of breast cancer.  It is such a terrible disease, I did this for them to help in raising awareness.

SHARON AND CARRIE

It was an experience like no other.  So many smiling faces, embraces and genuine happiness.

I was unsure how the day would really go.  I was there to do a job, a volunteer job.  My job was to photograph the event, the survivors and get candid shots.

It became more than just a volunteer job that day.  It became a day of connection, seeing the stories in people’s eyes and hearing them come from their mouths.  These ladies were so proud to be survivors and happy to do what they could to share their experiences with those around them.  Sharing with those who understood and have been there. 

These women captivated me from the start of pretty much every conversation or maybe it was their genuine smile or the slight flirting they did with this photographer.  Captivated by them, their stories, their pride.

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I met an 83 year old woman who was a 43 year survivor who shared that this was the first year her husband would not be there to see her come down the escalator.  Sadly he passed away in the past year.  She spoke of how hard the battle had been, the fear of being told she had cancer. She said it was all worth growing through because of the relationships she has made over the years of attending these events.

Then there was a woman who was in her mid 50’s.  Twice a survivor.  She told me of the toll it took on her husband and her.  Their relationship struggled, after the first battle with Cancer.  Now, because this is a public blog, I won’t share the exact struggle as it is her story to share with whom she wishes, not mine.  I am honored she shared with me.  Anyway, once diagnosis 2 came around with battle #2 they worked together and their relationship became stronger.  She even said “ I may not be as young as I once was but I am still a looker .”  She has had a double mastectomy and a reconstruct and was now a 12 year survivor. This made me smile, she smiled.  It was great to see her confidence.

Pink and Purple hair, not just dyed for that day but always dyed that way.  A 77 year old woman who says she does it so she does stand out, so she can tell people why.  I was drawn first to that beautiful hair then her eyes as they lit up as I complimented her style. 20 year Survivor full of life and youthful even in her 70’s.  I took a few photos of her to ensure I captured her eyes along with that wild hair.

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I spoke with a few 20 plus tear survivors who have attended all 11 years of the Luncheon and Parade.  They told me of being there for others who are new to their battle with Breast Cancerand having a kinship with others who have been there…..because they understand each other.  It really is a sister hood.  These women  hang out throughout the year and for those who don’t they love seeing everyone each year at this event.

As you look into their eyes as they tell their stories you can see joy of survival but still a little hurt as they recall the first diagnosis, the chemo, mastectomies, reconstructs, loss of relationships but gaining of new ones.  Realizing who your friends are by going through all of this and making new life long friends.

I was told of the Rowing Club who recently won the championship.  IN 17 years of the club they have fortunately ( or unfortunately? )  Only had 12 ladies pass from this disease.

The ladies flirted with me, touched my bum and even told the stories of being older but now having the breasts of a 20 year old.  I took over 800 photos and my friend Steve took another 600, we captured the emotion, the excitement, the speakers, the staff and the onlookers.

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The funniest story of the day was during the draw for door prizes.  One prize was for a bag that had lingerie in it.  Well……

Out comes the Lingerie, the thongs and immediately laughter engulfs the whole room as these women put the underwear on their head, flung a thong at Steve and even offered me a private showing later ( which of course was a joke….or maybe not haha.  )

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I could go on and on with stories from today but a blog post does not really allow for that, so , I will conclude with this.

Cancer in any form is scary.  Most diseases are scary.  Sadly many will leave this earth as we still try to find cures and treatments.  If you are a survivor you have a choice.  You can just sit back and do nothing or you can create awareness and encourage others who are going through the battle.  You can get involved by volunteering and offering your talents to whatever cause you are passionate about.  It is not always about donating money.

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OK, one more thing. 

Whether you are a survivor or had struggle of any kind or not, just listen.  Listen to those who have been through some struggle.  Even if their story does not inspire you, the sparkle in their eye from being able to share to anyone who will listen will warm your heart.  Listen for them. Listen for your heart.

Mini

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Taking Photos for Heart :)

There is nothing I love more than making people smile and have fun.  Yesterday allowed for than opportunity over and over again.  I volunteered to work a photo booth for The Heart and Stroke Foundation at The Spruce Meadows Masters and I must say the experience was exhilarating and freeing for me.

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When raising awareness for any disease which can be tragic it is good to see that you can do that and make people smile.

Whether it was getting families together to act silly in costumes or having little girls act like divas or having little boys dress up as cowboys and the occasional one who dressed in the diva outfits.  It was fun and it was me being me.  Being a goof, laughing and bringing people out of their comfort zone. 

 

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I got to work with 3 other amazing people who got in on the fun.  One girl was even racing kids on the little horses. SO. MUCH. FUN.  The fun was contagious no matter what we faced during the day.

 

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The event to raise awareness had four stations. 

  1. Heart Facts Trivia ( Heart Fact Station)
  2. AED awareness ( Stayin Alive Station)
  3. Physical Activity Education ( Heart Racin Station)
  4. Equestrian Family Photo Booth.

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Our role was to help educate people on the important ways people can educate and promote good heart health while assisting in the activity that we were involved with.

 

Each booth had a different activity like learning CPR or doing a little exercise, or creating AED awareness and of course one booth having fun taking photos.  People attending the Masters Event at Spruce Meadows had an opportunity to do each station and get a passport stamped and receive a prize.  Sadly I did not find out what that prize was.

The event was sponsored by Canadian Pacific Railway  you can follow their Heart Efforts and fundraising on twitter at : @CPhasHeart.  Last year they helped raise $120,000 for The Heart and Stroke Foundation while helping to create AED deployment across Canada.

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The more I volunteer with The Heart and Stroke Foundation the more I wish I had done this long before it took a Heart Attack to get involved.  I am re finding another part of me that use to be there when I was younger.  The part of me that was hopeful and wanted to make a difference in this world as a teen.  This Adult is going to keep this up and not let that part go away again.

 

Each of us can make difference, help the world and it does not have to be by BIG actions, even the little ones help.  Sometimes the little actions can have an even bigger impact than the big ones. 

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How do you think you can make a difference, to make our world better ?    I challenge you to find a way.

Mini

First Speaking Engagement- Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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August 21, 2014 thanks to my friend Sabrina I took part in the Big Bike Ride for The Heart and Stroke Foundation.  This lead to an opportunity that I am so happy I was given.

At the event I spoke to one of the coordinators and was able to share my story and was asked if I would speak the following week as the fundraiser was continuing for the Calgary Corporate Challenge.

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Now excuse me if I begin to sound like an excited little school girl but this was amazing for me in so many way !  *Giggle*  ok, no giggle but still amazing.

Before I ramble on I’ll explain that I spoke to participants in 2-3 minute spurts after each big bike ride.  Participants were doing this fundraiser as part of the corporate challenge for their companies. I spoke in front of many company teams in the two days.  I also got to know some of those working for the heart and stroke foundation.  They have a fun crew I must say !

OK, ramble time. 

Look, I have been trying to figure out  how to write about this because it seemed like it all went by in a blur for me but there were things that made it worth it.  I had to process it I guess.

The best part about the sharing my story wasn’t even sharing my story.  It was what happened each time after I shared.

People came to me individually after each presentation.  I heard their stories about themselves, their family, and their friends.

One story  was a man who shared about seeing his father die in front of him from a Heart Attack at age 49.   This man was currently 35 and he wondered about what could happen to himself.  He spoke of  how hard it was to see his Dad die and how Heart Disease had an impact on his family.  Spoke of how scar and shocking it was.  His father was an instructor at a college here in this city and it happened at his school.  They called an ambulance and he was shocked numerous times but sadly he never made it.  We also spoke about my recovery, my current lifestyle and yes a little about my own heart attack. He said it was nice to see someone his age share their experience and be able to relate.  We spoke easily for 20 minutes.  I don’t know what he took from our talk but for me it made an impact and I thought a lot about how we all have a story and sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s to share ours.

HEARTPHONE 198

There was a woman who approached me for more detail about my heart attack ( I did only have 2-3 minutes.)  After telling her a little more she then asked how people around me reacted or treated me after my heart attack.  It was a subject that truthfully I really tried to put in the back of my head because there are so many good and not so good ways people treated me after.  I don’t talk much about the not so good because I know most people were well meaning and I did not always share what I needed form them.  The honesty of the subject felt great to talk about.  But that is for another post.

 Back to her.  She wanted to know how to react or be around her sister.  Her natural instinct was to be protective and worried, putting her sister in a bubble, her sister was not receptive.  This, I could relate to 100 %.  I listened and then we spoke about just allowing a person to be who they are even if they themselves don’t always know “ who they are”.   Sometimes those who are recovering just want to be accepted and treated like they aren’t damaged is what I told her.  I did re iterate that many also want to be coddled and felt sorry for.  Her sister was not to be felt sorry for based on what she told me.   This conversation had more detail than a blog post will allow but listening to her ask how to be there showed me that although concerned, that she really wanted to find the best way to support her sister. 

Other people came up and said thank you and that my story was inspiring to them.  Some just simply wanted to know how I am doing a year later and some asked me what scared me now.  Although I got an opportunity to speak, those stories showed me that what I was doing was right.

My story may not be glamorous and unimportant to some but for a few, it does mean something.  That makes this worth it.

HEARTPHONE 223

 

Mini

HAPPY 37 TH BIRTHDAY TO ME !

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August 19, 2014 I celebrated my 37th Birthday. It was an amazing time shared with some friends.  It is also the first birthday I have actually celebrated in 7 years.

I could share many reasons why I haven’t celebrated but let’s focus this year on why I did.

August 19, 2013.  8 days post heart attack.  I had been released from the hospital the day before.  Happy Birthday to me right ?  I lived, so umm maybe I should be doing something because I almost did not make it to my 37th.  Sadly, no.  You see, my Heart Attack was still a secret to most people.  Very few people knew at this point what happened and if you look back to my posts in February you will see that is when I came out and told the world.

DBDAY

Friends did the usual Facebook “Happy Birthday”, I got some texts and phone calls.  I had people invite me out for a drink.  I replied to a few people, half heartedly, I declined the invites because I did not want anyone to know what was going on.  It was so hard not to tell people what I was feeling and thinking.  Part of me wanted to celebrate my life but I knew my reality that day.

I slept a lot as I was still battling fatigue.  I walked my 20 minutes as instructed.  I read a little and basically stayed in my protective cocoon.  It kinda sucked really.

Truth.  I felt very alone.  I felt like I may have not even been worth people’s time even if I was healthy that day.  It was like I was in a dark room with one light shining down, four walls with no escape.  I was trapped in my own loneliness.  The only escape was the hard way out and that would have meant telling people why I was staying home and not returning their phone calls.  I couldn’t.  I did not understand a lot of what happened and I was still trying to make sense of it all.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I was thankful I was alive but the reality that I may have never seen another birthday was quite striking and the fact that the Heart Attack happened so close to my birthday only made it worse.

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In 12 months, I realized that I really am not alone, that I am worth celebrating.  Life in itself is worth celebrating.  It doesn’t matter how crappy other birthdays were or how others made past birthdays miserable.  What does matter is that even if we don’t have an elaborate birthday party, that we take the time to celebrate the past year and the year of life that we will now enter in hopes that we make it to the next one and many more after that.

August 19, 2014.  I celebrated with friends, had a few wobbly pops ( yes, 3 is the # I remember putting me into umm “tipsy mode.”  I did a failed muff dive shot, I laughed, I goofed around, I had fun.  It was nice to hear Happy Birthday sang out of tune from my friends.  It was fun having a wide mix of friends sharing their stories about the silly and crazy things I have done.  It seems everyone had a great “ Mini” story.  Each of those stories no matter how embarrassing made people laugh, made me laugh and that my friends is exactly what I needed last night.

If you wish to view the failed Muff Dive Video, it is on my They Call Me Mini Face book page. They Call Me Mini

BIRTHDAY MUFF DIVE FAIL VIDEO

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Thank you to everyone who came out and making my night fun and a little crazy.  I am looking forward to next year.  I only get better with age from here.

Mini.

ONE YEAR !

 

 

ONE YEAR LATER ! 

Two days ago was the one year anniversary of my Heart Attack. I did not post that day for it was my day, for me.

August 11, 2013- August 11, 2014.

I could sit here and give you all an emotional post or try to be somewhat inspirational on what is my 1 year anniversary of having a Heart Attack at age 35.  That’s not what I am here to do.

1 Year later I can simply say this.  I am better, healthier, more alive, mature and probably the most awesome “Me” that I have ever been.  I am not the same guy but I love who I am even with the differences.

1 Year later I will not say it was easy to get here, not remotely easy but it was worth it.

1 Year later I accept and appreciate all that got me here.  The hard work and the fun stuff.

1 Year later I am happy and I think I have only just begun to re take the reset of my heart and my life to the next level.

1 Year later I truly and honestly for the first time in my life fully love and accept who I am.  Flaws and all.

I enjoyed the day … by disconnecting from social media and the news, reading a book, going for a walk or two and just reflecting and being thankful.  I also had Ice Cream.

Sometimes all one needs is a little time to disconnect and be with their own thoughts to truly have a good day.

Bring on Year #2 !

Mini

 

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