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February is American Heart Month
Getting to the Heart of a Better Life

    By Dave Fine


    A little more than a year ago, I added a few things to my body – a pacemaker, new aorta, and aortic valve and root. These new additions resulted from discovering that I had an aortic aneurism and a bicuspid aortic valve that required surgery to repair. The pacemaker was added a week later, after doctors found my heart no longer beat properly on its own.


    My recent experience with open heart surgery, and an earlier battle with cancer, taught me important lessons I am compelled to share.


    I pushed doctors to find the problem. I had to push doctors for 2 years to believe me and to find the cancer. In my heart, I knew something was wrong. And with my heart problem, I again had to push doctors for nearly a year to find it. I’m fortunate that I LISTENED TO MY BODY and remained steadfast so doctors would find the root cause of what my body was telling me. It saved my life.


    Another lesson that my health battles taught me is the benefit a HEALTHY DIET AND EXERCISE can have on your treatment and recovery. That meant doctors could take a more aggressive approach when treating my illness. And my body would recover more quickly from the chemotherapy and open-heart surgery.


    When I had cancer, I SET A GOAL to beat it. My reward? A Harley-Davidson motorcycle. And 4 days after going into remission I bought the Harley. With open-heart surgery my goal was to run a Tough Mudder. And 7 months after surgery I completed the Tough Mudder with the help of my wife and son.


    Though my heart problems come from genetics, the research I did on my condition opened my eyes to 2 alarming facts. First, an estimated 630,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. And second, heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined.


    I’ve decided to partner with the American Heart Association in the fight against heart disease. I’ll be joining the executive leadership committee for the Metro Atlanta Heart Walk.


    The Cricket Wireless team supports this great cause by attending the event and raising money for heart disease prevention throughout the year. We exceeded our fundraising goals last year, and I can’t wait to see what we pull off this fall.

    I’m aware of heart disease and its impacts every day. But today, I reflect, in recognition of American Heart Month, on how my personal battle changed me and I’m hopeful that it may serve as food for thought for you.

    • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – You know your body better than anyone else. It’s important to act on the signs that your body gives you and continue to push until you get the answers you need. You never know when that “little” issue is a sign of something much larger.
    • HEALTHY DIET AND EXERCISE – You don’t have to give up all your favorite foods or be a world class athlete. For most people the 80/20 rule for food is fine: 80% healthy and 20% a bit less healthy goes a long way. As for exercise, “a body in motion stays in motion.” You don’t have to run marathons or be an Olympic weightlifter. Just get up and move with the goal of going just a little further, faster or heavier than you did yesterday.
    • SET A GOAL – Make your goal achievable. You can always set another goal after achieving the last one and make sure to reward yourself for your accomplishment.


    I encourage you to eat healthy, exercise regularly and keep stress to a minimum. You can even get your kids started early with these 7 simple steps from the American Heart Association.


    Let me know what you’re doing to keep your heart healthy. Shoot a note to us on Twitter (@CricketNation) using the #AmericanHeartMonth hashtag.


    Dave Fine leads Cricket’s Sales and Distribution teams. He is a cancer and heart disease warrior and survivor with a competitive spirit who is active in his community. He also enjoys competitions that test his mental and physical stamina.