In December, 2015, at age 39, Chad Plein was living the dream. He had a beautiful family, a high-profile career as the sports director at KY-3 and the holiday season was in full swing. What happened next, however, would change his life forever.
After his morning shower, Chad experienced what he thought might be a panic attack. His wife dialed 9-1-1, despite his objections. Upon arriving at the hospital, they learned that the “panic attack” was actually a heart attack. Chad’s right coronary artery was more than 95% blocked. When stents didn’t work, Chad underwent successful open-heart surgery to open the clogged artery.
Chad knew that he had a family history of heart disease (he’s the four generation male on his father's side to suffer a heart attack), but he also thought at 39 he had time. He didn’t smoke, but he also didn’t exercise. Other risk factors included a diet significantly comprised of take-out food and a high level of stress.
Three days later, Chad was able to come home from the hospital in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. However, the family’s reality has been forever altered. Almost three years later, Chad’s children say goodbye or goodnight over and over again and he strives to reassures them with “I'm fixed now and everything is fine”.
Since the heart attack, Chad has a new daily routine. Take-out meals have been replaced by healthier options at home, water is his go-to drink and the treadmill is his friend. Chad knows that he can’t let stress overwhelm him and makes a conscious effort to enjoy the little things more and tries not to sweat the small stuff.
With his visible public profile and natural ability to share stories, Chad is committed to raising awareness of heart disease and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. He shares his story to help others. Together, we are working to make #NoMoHeartDisease a reality!