5 Stories from the Heart: Employees Fundraise for the American Heart Association

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For the fifth consecutive year, Leidos QTC Health Services is proudly participating in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart Walk and working to fundraise $21,000 company-wide.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans, but that doesn’t stop us from taking a stand (or a walk) to help save lives. Our donations and participation helps fund lifesaving science advancements that prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.

Stories from the Heart 

Five Leidos QTC Health Services employees shared why they walk and their experiences with cardiovascular disease.

Join their cause and donate to a team in your region:

1.) Quality Assurance Specialist Jasmine Tribu 

The Heart Walk is an event that is so close to my heart because I have a son with a functional heart murmur.

When he was born, we were told that he would grow out of it. But with every year that passed, the heart murmur was still there. At his six-year wellness check, we were told that it had not resolved by itself, and he needed a full workup.

Then COVID-19 hit, and we could not get a new patient appointment anywhere. At the time, I was working in a pediatric specialty clinic myself, and about three months into it, we went back to seeing patients in the office.

I had never been so afraid in my life. I had a child at home, and we did not know what was going on with his heart. Yet here I was, working in a clinic around people every day. It became a routine to change my clothes before I left work, then immediately come home, shower, and throw all my clothes in the washer.

About six months later, we were finally able to see a cardiologist. They determined that it was a functional heart murmur that he probably was not going to grow out of, but he will be okay.

I am not going to lie; we were one of the lucky ones. Today, my son is seven years old and doing well, but as a mother, that worry lives on. He now sees a cardiologist yearly just to check and make sure that everything is okay.

2.) Medical Case Specialist Mellanie Herrin 

I’m walking for my uncle, who passed seven years ago from a heart attack. He was in his late forties, leaving his wife and only son.

I walk for my paternal grandpa, who had triple bypass surgery about six years ago.

I walk for my maternal grandfather, who passed from a heart attack as well.

I walk for everyone who has lost their lives or who is still fighting.

3.) Medical Case Specialist Rebecca Gonzalez 

I am walking in honor of my father, who just recently survived a massive heart attack.

I am honored to be a part of Heart Walk! We are raising funds and supporting families who are affected by this, just as my family was.

4.) Medical Case Specialist Jamie Brown

My aunt’s name is Cecilia Pridgen, who was an employee for Leidos QTC Health Services years ago.

At the age of 46, my aunt was diagnosed with heart failure, high blood pressure, sugar diabetes, and kidney issues, all while still attending work. But she had to leave her job at Leidos QTC Health Services due to her severe heart conditions.

The first two years were hard because she was not able to physically take care of herself. She dealt with low energy levels and needed assistance with day-to-day routines. At the end of those two years, she stopped taking medication prescribed to her by her heart doctor, researched medications, and decided to only to take what was necessary for her body.

My aunt Cecilia mentioned that Leidos QTC Health Services was one of the best jobs she’s ever had, and if it were not for her heart failing, she would’ve retired rather than leave. She is grateful and happy that she had the opportunity to work with such great staff and Veterans on a daily basis, who may have been experiencing heart conditions as well.

While working at Leidos QTC Health Services, she learned a lot about those who suffered from heart conditions. She also thanks Leidos QTC Health Services for helping her through the process when she had to leave the job and how the company made sure she received her disability.

Dealing with heart failure was a traumatic experience and hard on her. She went from being able to work every day to not being able to work at all. Her ability to be physically available was limited, and she experienced weight loss.

Still to this day, my aunt has to be mindful of what to eat, how to move her body, exercise, and take medication just to get through the day. It has been 11 years since my aunt Cecilia was diagnosed with heart failure.

My aunt is one of the strongest women I know, and she has a big support system who loves her dearly. She continues to motivate others to take care of their well-being, mental and physical health.

5.) Operations Manager Jennifer Reyes 

I am walking in honor of my loved ones that lost their battle to heart disease and stroke.

I want to help raise funds to support the AHA’s significant lifesaving research and breakthroughs, so our next generation can live longer, healthier lives.

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