I originally wrote this post for senioradvisor.com. I’ve copied it below…
World Heart Day: The True Story about the Man with an Unstoppable Heart
In honor of World Heart Day, a day dedicated to the world’s largest intervention against cardiovascular disease, I’d like to share an incredible, true story about the Man with an Unstoppable Heart.
His Impressive Background
Before I share the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s inspirational story, it’s important to know his background. The Man with an Unstoppable Heart is a devoted and supportive husband, father and grandfather, a former High School Class President, a Fightin’ Texas Aggie college graduate, an admirable United States Army officer, an honorable Vietnam veteran who not only went to war for our country but led a band of incredibly brave soldiers as a fearless reconnaissance platoon leader, a talented artist and writer, an adventurous mountain climber of some of Colorado’s difficult fourteeners and a tireless marathon runner. And that’s just the short list!
Over his lifetime, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart has put his full heart into everything he has done, no matter the set back, risk or fear involved, he has kept charging forward, pushing through obstacles and unimaginable heartache. Next on the Man with the Unstoppable Heart’s big life goal list was to “run through the tape” at the Boston Marathon after qualifying at the age of 68.
His Heartbreaking Struggle
However, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart faced a devastating setback prior to the world-renowned race. During a visit with his two new twin grandsons, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart experienced the unthinkable…his heart stopped.
After repeated and unwavering attempts to bring him back to life by his wife and daughter and a quick-response police officer, all hearts were starting to break. It wasn’t until an amazing team of paramedics rushed to the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s side to bring him back to life. With their tireless rescue attempts, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s legs suddenly started moving in a running motion, showing signs that he was ready to start running an entirely new race…the race of his life.
After his near death experience, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart beat the odds as his doctors told him a mere 4% survive cardiac arrest with CPR outside of a medical setting and of that miraculous group, only 2% live without brain damage.
While a condition of this severity would likely keep any man down, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart didn’t let it take his dreams or determined spirit. After six and a half short and incredibly difficult months of recovery, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart did the unthinkable again…he conquered the Boston Marathon!
His Inspirational Advice
I recently had a brief phone conversation with the Man with the Unstoppable Heart and asked him what advice he would give to others who are in similar life stages or who are facing their own health struggles. Here’s what he shared with me:
“For the golden years to be golden, you have to go against the grain and do things you don’t expect people to do. Everyone is in a race against himself or herself. Don’t let your race be the race that someone else has picked for you. Run the race you want to run and train for that race.
There’s daily maintenance of old age (such as aches and pains in the morning), and you have to prepare yourself and fight through it. That said, it’s even more important to eat healthy foods and be kinder to your body the older you get.”
On a personal note, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart has made a huge impact on my life as he inspires me every day. He is one of my guiding lights who reminds me to never give up, put your heart into everything and always “run through the tape.”
I’m so incredibly honored to call the Man with an Unstoppable Heart by another name…Dad.
Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.