When the holidays near, we are reminded to be grateful during this giving season. It is the season of giving gifts, of giving time, of giving good will - and most importantly, of giving thanks.

At age 38, I became a sudden cardiac death survivor. When my heart stopped, my husband, Andy, began CPR on me. A skill he had learned in school, re-learned in the military and had just re-trained in through work the week prior.

My sudden cardiac arrest led me to a long hospital stay, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator inserted in my chest and the journey to learn how to talk, walk and complete every-day tasks again. Because of this experience, I have advocated to see policy changes that give children the ability to learn CPR in schools enabling them to save lives.

Today I am unbelievably happy and healthy and am living grateful because of research and education. Most importantly, I am appreciative and thankful for the advancements in the treatment of heart disease and stroke because of research.

As we move forward to a day where heart disease and stroke are no more, please consider supporting the American Heart Association by volunteering, participating at an event or making a donation. Together we can love and care for our hearts and the hearts of others one beat at a time.

Michelle Johnston

Shelburne

Show us you enjoyed this content by becoming a newspaper subscriber.

We use a Facebook Comments Plugin for commenting. No personal harassment, abuse or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer. We moderate every comment. Please go to our Terms of Use/Privacy Policy "Posting Rules and Interactivity" for more information.