As a child Tiffany Coury noticed that her cousin Jessica Coury couldn’t always do everything she did. She couldn’t play sports and run around as much as the rest of her cousins, but their family always made sure she felt included. Jessica was born with three significant congenital heart issues: pulmonary artresia, tetralogy of fallot and ventricular and atrial septal defects. Doctors warned her family that she may not live a full life.
Growing up Jessica was in and out of the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries. However, when she was 14-years-old she passed away as a result of her heart complications. Tiffany felt that Jessica was stolen from her family. That year, at age 14, she walked in her very first American Heart Association Heart Walk to help raise awareness and funds to support research and education to fight heart disease and stroke.
After losing Jessica, Tiffany began to learn more about her family’s history of heart disease. She also began volunteering with the American Heart Association Northern Nevada Division. Through her involvement, she learned that thanks to advancements in medicine funded by the organization, including a 1966 project that led to a technique to correct septal defects in newborns showing that major heart procedures can be performed with a catheter, she and her family were given the gift of 14 years with Jessica. Even earlier, in 1936, fearless woman Maude Abbott, M.D. had invented an international classification system for congenital heart disease, which became the definitive reference guide for the subject and led to the information and resources that helped Jessica’s doctor’s diagnosis her heart complications so that they could begin to treat them as soon as she was born.
In recent years, Tiffany lost her grandmother to dementia and her grandfather to a widowmaker heart attack which is caused by a 100 percent blockage of the left anterior descending artery. She knew this was a sign that she needed to do more. She made positive lifestyle changes like changing her diet, working out more and meditating. She started talking to her family about their history of heart disease and dementia and the connection between the two. She also got more involved with the American Heart Association Northern Nevada Division taking on leadership positions as part of the Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team and helping with fundraising. Tiffany believes her involvement with the organization helped her discover her purpose in life which is to support a healthier future for the next generation. She is honored to serve as the 2019 Go Red for Women Event Chair and aims to use her role to unite the community and help women understand there is a deeper connection to living that cannot be attained without focusing on yourself first. Jessica’s life led Tiffany to her legacy and she is grateful for the opportunity to support women’s heart health and give families more precious time together.
1936 - Maude Abbott, MD invented an international classification system for congenital heart disease, which became the definitive reference guide to the subject.