Lidia Morales is a Double Winner

Updated:Mar 24,2016

Juntos LidiaShe was only 33 years old when she was diagnosed with a very rare heart condition that required immediate open heart surgery. With no history of cardiovascular disease in her family, no high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the incident frightened her. “I realized heart disease can happen to anyone,” she recalls.

In fact, it happened so fast that, between the diagnosis and the operation, Lidia hardly had time to learn about her condition. “But after the operation, while recuperating, I went online to find out all I could,” she said. “That’s how I found the American Heart Association.” She has been a volunteer ever since.

Lidia has participated in local Heart Walks and acted as a spokesperson for our Go Red For Women program, including sharing her story at luncheons. More recently she recorded a Go Red For Women PSA which is being featured on Spanish language media on several Telemundo stations!

Her close association with the organization proved helpful to her seven years later, in 2014. While attending a meeting, she began to feel a weakness on her left side. She and her colleagues wasted no time calling 9-1-1. At the hospital, she learned that she had a mini-stroke.

During her initial recovery she used a cane and was not able to take the stairs. After two years of hard work and physical therapy, she still tends to favor her right side. But she is cane-free and climbs the stairs once more. Her next goal is to be able to wear high heels. She is slowly working her way back to wearing her favorite pair of shoes.

Morales 07Most recently, Lidia participated in the Rose Parade, where Union Bank and the American Heart Association presented a float, celebrating their 30-year union fighting heart disease and stroke. She found it especially meaningful to bond with other survivors who accompanied the float. They began a walking group and participated in the Orange County, Calif., Heart Walk on March 5. She wore a survivor jersey with “Morales” on the back, along with her “number” (the year of her first heart incident 07). “If I can educate just one woman and encourage her to get help, I am happy.”