Bobby Ballard Survivor Story

Bobby Ballard Running in a race

In early 2010, at almost 300 pounds, Bobby was diagnosed with high blood pressure and cholesterol. He knew it was time for a change and started eating better and took up walking to lose weight. By November 2010, he had dropped 70 pounds and was walking 6 miles a day. In 2011, Bobby enrolled in the Joplin Y’s “Anyone Can Run” class designed for those who were beginning runners and culminating with the Armed Forces 5K in May. On April 12, 2011, after a mid-week training run, Bobby’s life changed forever. After finishing a 3-mile run, he told the class that he was tired, got some water, and sat down. That is all he remembers for the next six days; Bobby had suffered a massive heart attack.

A nurse who was in Bobby’s running class immediately recognized what was happening and started CPR. EMT’s soon took over and used the defibrillator seven times on the way to the hospital. After arriving at the hospital, things continued to look grim. Bobby’s wife, Jane, was told to gather their family as doctors were unsure if he would make it through the night. Surgeons inserted 3 stints to stabilize him for the short term, but Bobby still required a triple bypass surgery a few days later. When Bobby woke up six days after the heart attack that nearly took his life, he had no memory of what had occurred. Bobby had not experience warning signs of a heart attack, and heart disease was the last thing he thought could happen.

After three days of physical therapy in the hospital, Bobby was released to go home. Starting slowly, he began to walk – at first just to the mailbox and around the yard. Three weeks later he was back up to three miles. Bobby even walked in the Armed Forces 5K - the race for which he had been training - just five weeks after his triple bypass! He now runs 15 to 20 miles a week. Since 2011, he has competed in many races (recently completing his 8th marathon) and plans to continue to run as long as he can.

Bobby’s “never give up” attitude inspires us as we continue to share the #NoMoHeartDisease message across Missouri! He is passionate about sharing the message of education for patients, Hands-Only CPR training for everyone and helping save lives by promoting the mission of the American Heart Association.