Heart Survivor – Lei Maa Richmond

Real Women of Maui 2013

Each year, the American Heart Association of Maui invites a small group of women from our community to share their personal stories of heart disease survival at the annual Maui Go Red for Women Luncheon & Health Expo.

This year the event will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at The Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel where we will introduce our Real Women of 2014.

If you were not able attend last year’s event, we hope that you will come out this year to support this worthy cause. In the meantime, please visit our blog every Saturday up until November 15, as we share the stories of last year’s heart survivors – Real Women of Maui 2013.

Lei Maa RichmondIn 1996, at the age of 37, Lei Maa Richmond began to experience heart flusters; she described it as though her heart was rolling and wouldn’t stop. During that time life was very busy for Lei. She had 4 children attending three different schools; they lived in San Fernando Valley and her husband worked in San Diego, therefore, there was a lot of commuting.

One night at a concert, while rushing up a flight of stairs, Lei passed out. A year-and-a-half later, while training to do a 60-mile Breast Cancer walk, Lei again experienced the heart rolling sensation mentioned earlier. Not wanting to take any chances, she drove herself to the hospital and was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation.

Due to Lei’s condition, she was placed on daily medication. Instead of accepting that she would be on medication for the rest of her life, Lei decided to make changes in her life. She stopped all caffeine and dairy products; changed the way she dealt with stress; and eventually, weaned herself off of the medication.

After attending the 2012 Maui Go Red for Women Luncheon & Health Expo as a guest, Lei was inspired to see a Cardiologist for a check-up and was diagnosed as being “A-Okay.”  She now has annual check-ups.

In Lei’s words, “I am participating because I believe in awareness. We need to support each other, and although most of us feel like we are indestructible, we need to pay attention to our health and whatever signs our bodies might be telling us. And then we must ACT. Not just for ourselves but for our loved ones and each other.”

Heart Survivor – Lisa Dang-Fujishiro

Real Women of Maui 2013

Maui Heart Survivor Lisa Dang-FujishiroIn October of 2006, at the age of 47, Lisa was suffering from a severe headache and could not keep her head up. She was rushed to the emergency room and was diagnosed as having a hemorrhagic stroke, also known as a ruptured aneurysm. Lisa was placed into a coma for about 2 weeks in an effort to stop the bleed in her brain.

Due to research funding and breakthrough technology, a stent was placed in a narrowed artery of her brain; one of the firsts in Hawaii. This new FDA-approved stent prevented Lisa from experiencing more aneurysms.

The experience completely changed Lisa’s outlook on life. She doesn’t take anything for granted anymore, and appreciates everything more. Lisa and her family continue to look forward to wonderful years together.

Each year, the American Heart Association of Maui invites a small group of women from our community to share their personal stories of heart disease survival at the annual Maui Go Red for Women Luncheon & Health Expo.

This year the event will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at The Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel where we will introduce our Real Women of 2014.

If you were not able attend last year’s event, we hope that you will come out this year to support this worthy cause. In the meantime, please visit our blog every Saturday up until November 15, as we share the stories of last year’s heart survivors – Real Women of Maui 2013.

November Club Walk Canceled

Club Walk CanceledOur November Club Walk for Saturday, November 1, at Keopuolani Park has been canceled. Please stay tuned for future walks and thank you for your continued support!

Heart Survivor – Kellee Smith

Real Women of Maui 2013

Maui Heart Survivor Kellee SmithAt the age of 39, Kellee Smith was diagnosed with Supraventricular Nodal Reentry Tachycardia. This type of tachycardia is most common in women; approximately 75% of cases.

In late May of 2009, Kellee was scheduled to have a cardiac ablation procedure done. Unfortunately, family life had other plans for Kellee, causing her to cancel her surgery and place her heart condition on the back burner. Later in 2011, Kellee visited her Cardiologist to once again discuss her options; and she opted for medication.

Kellee is member of Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua, lead by Kumu Hula Gordean Bailey. In December of 2011, the Halau held a fundraiser to help with Halau activity costs; or so Kellee thought.

At the annual Halau Christmas party, Kellee was handed a card by her Kumu which contained a check in her name for a substantial amount. The note in the card read, “Hearts are important to all of us – yours in particular. Santa thought he could help and solicited help from your hula sisters.” The halau fundraiser was actually held secretly for Kellee.

In 2012, Kelle underwent the ablation surgery and has since been living a healthier and stronger life. She credits this due to the love and help of her family and hula sisters. Kellee shares, “We have only one heart…we must care for it…so we can care for others!”

Each year, the American Heart Association of Maui invites a small group of women from our community to share their personal stories of heart disease survival at the annual Maui Go Red for Women Luncheon & Health Expo.

This year the event will be held on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at The Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel.

If you were not able attend last year’s event, we hope that you will come out this year to support this worthy cause.  In the meantime, please visit our blog every Saturday up until November 15, as we share the stories of last year’s heart survivors – Real Women of Maui 2013.

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