Dear Editor:

After a rough pregnancy, I gave birth to a healthy boy we named Ryan last year. I was 35 and ready to face the crazy world of newborns- baby giggles, late-night feedings and changing diapers. Instead I was battling for my life instead of learning the ropes of being a new mom.

I was diagnosed with peri-cardiomyopathy. Translation: my heart quit functioning. Everyday living became a challenge-from not being able to finish a conversation to struggling holding my 5 pound son. Breathing became increasingly difficult and walking outside was virtually impossible.

But today I'm doing better. I've changed my diet and activities so that my heart is functioning back to (almost) normal.

Fear is still a part of my life. I carry an emergency contact list in my wallet-just in case. But I'm living life to the fullest. The only reason I'm here is because of the dedication of my doctors and nurses, as well as the research led to the treatments that saved my life. That's why I'm supporting the American Heart Association at the Shoreline Heart Walk on Sunday, Nov. 3 at Monmouth Battlefield.

I hope our entire community supports this lifesaving mission by taking a heart healthy walk with me and Ryan, along with our entire family. For more information on the Heart Walk, visit or call the American Heart Association at 609.208.0020.



Tara Hertling

Morganville, NJ

American Heart Association Survivor Ambassador