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Local Woman Shares Story Of Open Heart Surgery At "Wear Red Day" Event

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VESTAL, NY -

People all over the country and here in the Southern Tier are wearing red as a powerful reminder of the real dangers heart disease poses for women.

A danger that Kimberly Quick knows first hand.

Quick never once thought she could have a heart problem, as the retired school administrative assistant did what she could to stay healthy.

“I didn’t think that anything was wrong with me. I just did not think. I always walked, I watched my diet, I quit smoking.”

That’s one reason why the 66-year-old didn’t notice the subtle signs something wasn’t right.

“As I was getting older, I was getting tired. I thought that was what was wrong with me. It was just getting old.”

Quick was surprised to learn she was born with a heart defect.

“They discovered my heart murmur. My primary care doctor discovered it, and she sent me to the cardiologist.”

Emergency testing would reveal she would need open heart surgery.

“I was scared. I thought, this is it.”

The surgery was a success, as she shared today at the Wear Red event at UHS Vestal.

She says she tells her story to encourage other women to get their heart checked, and to not ignore the warning signs.

“Fatigue, shortness of breath, sometimes heaviness, but it doesn’t have to be in the chest, it can be in the abdomen and the back, sometimes in the jaw. Anything that doesn’t feel normal. Extreme fatigue is a lot of times a warning symptom.” - Kristen Lewis, Nurse Practitioner in Cardiology at UHS

Check-ups are especially important if heart disease runs in your family.

For Quick, she’s just happy the defect was caught in time.

“If something is detected, please follow through and do what they tell you to do. I could not be here today. It’s nice to be here.”