Linda and Acie Vickers
Potomac, Maryland | President’s Circle
Linda and Acie Vickers of Potomac, Maryland have witnessed the devastating impact that heart disease has had on both sides of their families.
Linda’s 50-year-old sister, Stacey Richardson, was born with congenital heart disease (CHD), which wasn’t diagnosed until she was 18 months old. Stacey suffered from Tetralogy of Fallot, a serious heart condition that occurs in five of every 10,000 babies. As a result, Stacey was unable to crawl or walk before she underwent her first surgery to repair her heart. When she was 4, a second surgery was performed.
Linda’s parents were scared about Stacey’s health, but always encouraged her to do what other kids normally do.
“Stacey was a fighter from a young age,” Linda says. “She is one of those miracles that just keeps going.”
But living with a chronic heart condition isn’t easy, as both Stacey and Linda can attest. At age 34, Stacey required a defibrillator to treat her cardiac dysrhythmia. Now on her second defibrillator, she may one day need a heart transplant.
Stacey, who is married with one son, has attended the Greater Washington Region Heart Ball for the past several years with Linda and Acie.
The sisters are grateful for the AHA’s Support Network, which provides emotional and practical support to people living with heart disease and stroke. This type of support would have helped their parents when Stacey was growing up.
“It’s was a hard thing for my parents to go through,” Linda says. “They didn’t know if Stacey was going to live or die.”
Linda and Acie’s ongoing support and involvement with the AHA will continue to help others – like Stacey – live healthier and longer.
“Stacey really is an inspiration for other adults and children living with CHD,” Linda says.