Fred Kelley: A Story in Miracles

Updated:Feb 17,2011

Fred Kelley Personal Story LargePhoto51-year-old Fred Kelley says his life is a story of miracles. He says some people call it luck. Miracle or luck, more than eight years ago, he happened to be in front of the Monroe County Hospital in Monroeville, Ala., when he suffered his first heart attack.

At 44 years old and tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds, Fred said back then he considered himself to be in relatively good health. But on that day, in front of that hospital, Fred’s old life ended as did half the function of his heart.

After his heart attack, Fred wasted no time becoming an advocate for healthy living. He started actively exercising, losing 128 pounds in four years. He also started co-hosting a Friday morning radio show in his hometown. He used his radio show and his own personal testimony to raise money for health-related causes. Additionally, he became a member of the Alabama Obesity Task Force, promoting the importance of a healthy diet, physical activity and regular cholesterol testing. 

Two years ago Fred got devastating news. After all his attempts at exercise, eating healthy and losing weight, his heart was failing. His doctor suggested a pacemaker, but Fred was against the surgery because he was afraid he’d never be able to participate in his beloved bike rides again. In February 2007, Fred opted for the surgery. Four months later, he had a major heart attack. Doctors told him the pacemaker saved his life. Was it a miracle or just luck?

Fred Kelley with President George W. BushFred tells his story every chance he gets. In September 2007, his determination to get healthy took him all the way to the White House. It all started when he asked a congressman and senator from his state to join him in a charity bike ride. He even extended the offer to President George W. Bush. The President declined the offer, but invited Fred to Washington D.C. and presented him with the National Community Involvement Award. Fred has not given up hope. He still wants to ride bikes with President Bush.

Today, Fred goes for checkups every three months. He says words cannot express his gratitude to the doctors and nurses who have saved his life more than once. He actively participates in events to raise money for scientific research and hopes others will do the same. He says if his life is not about miracles, then he must be the “luckiest guy in the world.”