Heart Failure Personal Stories

Managing heart failure (HF) can be a daunting task, but you have every reason to be hopeful. Real patients share their experiences.

AHA's Heart Failure Ambassadors

Meet our HF Ambassadors banner

This inaugural group of volunteer ambassadors includes six heart failure patients and one caregiver from across the country who represent the face of heart failure in America and show that it can affect people of different ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. These ambassadors will serve as leaders in the community and will work with us to raise awareness about heart failure and share available resources for patients and families. Learn more about them here and be sure to connect with them on our Support Network.

HF Ambassador badge Kim and Shaun

Meet Kim Ketter and Shaun Rivers, AHA Heart Failure Ambassadors

ER nurse Kim Ketter had been feeling exhausted and short of breath for months, but it wasn’t until one day when she suffered heart palpitations at work that she decided to see a doctor about her symptoms. Her diagnosis of cardiomyopathy and HF came as a surprise. When she learned her condition may be genetic, Kim knew that her twin sister and fellow nurse, Shaun Rivers, could also be at risk for HF, so she suggested Shaun see her doctor and get tested as well. The results from Shaun’s stress test indicated that she also had HF.

As ambassadors, Kim and Shaun are sharing their story to provide hope and support for people affected by HF.


HF Ambassador badge Aimee

Meet Aimee Rodriguez-Zepeda, AHA Heart Failure Ambassador

A mother of three from Woodbridge, Virginia, who survived cancer and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Aimee was also determined not to let her CHF diagnosis stop her from pursuing her passion: motorcycle riding. Last spring, she organized a charity ride in her hometown of Woodbridge, Va. to raise awareness about HF in conjunction with the AHA.

As an ambassador, Aimee is committed to raising awareness and providing encouragement for others dealing with HF.


HF Ambassador badge Jang

Meet Jang Jaswal, AHA Heart Failure Ambassador

This San Francisco resident had his first heart attack in his mid-30s. After living with heart failure for many years, he received a heart transplant in 2013.

“Ever since, I’ve been doing great. Today is better than yesterday.”


HF Ambassador badge James Young

Meet James Young, AHA Heart Failure Ambassador

Poor lifestyle choices and reluctance to get medical attention nearly cost James Young, II, his life. After struggling with heart failure, the graphic designer from Detroit, Michigan, now puts a priority on his health, taking charge of risk factors he can control.

Today, James is sharing his story with others through the Support Network, motivated by not only his experience but also the loss of his father, who died from complications of congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes in 2014.


Mike and Beth O'Meara, Former AHA Heart Failure Ambassadors

HF Ambassador badge Mike and Beth

It’s with a heavy heart that we report Mike has passed away. He always faced his challenges with a big smile and a lot of optimism and that’s how Beth hopes we’ll all remember him – and live life fully in tribute to him.

As ambassadors, Mike and Beth shared their story to emphasize the critical role caregivers can play in helping HF patients rise above their disease.