Brenelly Flores of Salt Lake City, Utah, is helping Latinos make healthy lifestyle choices because of her family’s struggle with heart disease and stroke. “We lacked the knowledge to improve our lifestyle,” she explains. “I finally realized you can control risk factors and wanted to help others understand you can take charge of your own health.”
She connected with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in 2011. “My desire to fight cardiovascular disease in my community was answered,” she explains. “I have been able to educate and motivate Latinos through the Conozca Su Corazón (CSC) program."
Brenelly’s mother was just 49 years old when she passed away due to heart disease and diabetes. Her father is 53 and has suffered two strokes; he and Brenelly’s 18-year-old sister both have diabetes. “I regret that in the past I was not able to help my family avoid so many problems and loss,” Brenelly says. “Now I know how to provide a healthy lifestyle for my son Victor, who is two years old. And, I am happy to be able to help other Latino families.”
She has been teaching CSC workshops for nearly two years, offering practical ways for Latinos to improve their cardiovascular health. Healthy eating and physical activity are at the top of the list. “I motivate others through my interactions with them,” she explains. “It fills my heart with gratefulness, joy and hope that these families will have a different life than what my family experienced.”
“I am so thankful for the life I now live and the healthy future we are building for the Latino community in Utah.”