Heart for Healing with Yanela Vickers

The Port St. Lucie resident was selected to be one of 12 ambassadors of the American Heart Association’s 2024 Go Red for Women Class of Survivors

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Photo courtesy of Yanela Vickers
Photo courtesy of Yanela Vickers

At 18, Port St. Lucie resident Yanela Vickers was pregnant with a baby girl when she started suffering from fatigue, swelling in her legs, high blood pressure, and shortness of breath. Doctors dismissed her symptoms as normal, but she knew something was wrong (and she was right). A trip to the ER in her third trimester revealed she was in heart failure. Tragically, her daughter, Alena, died shortly after birth.

Now 35, Vickers has learned to live with cardiomyopathy, a chronic heart condition she discovered she had been living with unknowingly. “I found out later that my mom’s sister went through the exact same diagnosis,” she recalls. Had she known more about her family medical history, she may have been able to do something sooner.

She took charge of her health, making significant changes to her diet and lifestyle. Today, she is the mother of two healthy children, an EMT, and an advocate for other women. In February, Vickers was selected to be one of 12 ambassadors of the American Heart Association’s 2024 Go Red for Women Class of Survivors. The group of women share their powerful stories of survival to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women and inspire others to take charge of their well-being. (Of note: out of only 12 women selected nationwide, two are from our area—Vickers and 32-year-old Marissa Fattore of Vero Beach.)

Vickers says she hopes sharing her story through the AHA will inspire changes in the doctor-patient relationship and allow other women who might be at risk to be more heard.

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