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Life & Work with Kimby Jagnandan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimby Jagnandan. 

Hi Kimby, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I am a heart attack survivor. I had a massive heart attack at age 38 while I was in the hospital recovering from gall bladder removal surgery. Heart disease runs in my dad’s side of the family, but I never thought it would affect me until I was in my 50s or 60s. I’m so lucky to be alive thanks to the incredible doctors and nurses that took care of me. I happened to be in the right place at the right time or I would not be here to write this right now. As a result of this traumatic experience, I started volunteering my time with the local Orlando Chapter of American Heart Association. I wanted to find some way to give back. I have been volunteering with them for several years now and have raised thousands of dollars for the Orlando Heart Walk by bugging all my family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues for donations! I have a new lease on life, and I don’t take it for granted. In 2017, I took the trip of a lifetime to cross something off my bucket list. I went to South Africa and Namibia. It was my gift to myself for my 3 year “heartiversary”. I’ve also booked a trip to Antarctica (another bucket list item) for 2023 to celebrate my 8th and 9th Heartiversary. I try to live life to the fullest now – I started a blog about my heart story – www.loveyourheartblog.com and in 2021, I was selected as one of a very elite group of women to represent Go Red For Women in their Real Women Class. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course, it has not been a smooth road. I have battled many health issues since my heart attack, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I take several prescription medications daily and have to watch my cholesterol and sodium intake. I am constantly reminded of what happened to me and how far I have come. After my heart attack, I spent 3 months in cardiac rehab, which helped give me confidence to exercise again. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I consider myself a health advocate and try to stay involved in volunteer opportunities with anything heart-related, but mostly with American Heart Association. I have shared my story with others and have been blessed with public speaking opportunities to help inform women (and men) of the risks of heart disease and heart attack signs and symptoms. When I graduated college (as pre-med), I had planned to go to med school and eventually become a heart surgeon. Well, life has a funny way of working out because now I advocate for heart health and feel that my education and experience helps me relate to people (especially women) on a grounded level. For 2 years in a row, I raised over $5000 for the Orlando Heart Walk. I have such a great network of friends, family, colleagues that support me in this endeavor. I am truly grateful for this support system. $5000 is usually my annual goal for the Orlando Heart Walk, but sometimes I fall short and only make it to $2000-3000. Once again, this year, my goal will be $5000 and fingers crossed that we will get there! 

Since Covid, I lost my job of 22 years, but I took that as a blessing in disguise because now that I have a 2nd chance at life, why not pursue my dream job? So now, I am a full-time actor, and I love my life! Being an actor is really beneficial because I can easily get up in front of a crowd and do a public speaking engagement about heart health or I can comfortably speak with media to do an interview about my story. 

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
My life matters most to me. American Heart Association always asks “what’s your why”? My “why” is a second chance at life. I feel I was kept here for a reason, and I want to live up to those expectations. I’ve heard many stories about people who have had similar heart attacks to me and did not survive. I want to live my life for them, as well. I want to share my story and talk about heart health for those that can’t share or talk anymore. 

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