Debora Grandison shares her health journey through the American Heart Association’s #NoMOHeartDisease campaign.
The birth of a child is a joyous experience. But for Jefferson City native, Debora Grandison, the joy of delivering her child was coupled with what was to become a long road of obstacles and uncertainty.
At 27, Debora was hospitalized as a result of preterm labor. She was given medication to halt labor, and the medication tripled her heart rate, sending her to the intensive care unit. She delivered a healthy baby boy, but upon returning home, she found herself experiencing strange symptoms, including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, arm pain, and lethargy.
For the next 20 years, Debora underwent seemingly endless tests, prescription changes, and cardiac catheterizations in an effort to eliminate her symptoms. Finally, in 2008, Debora found the cause of her health issues. She was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.
In addition, Debora was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. She also battles Type 1 diabetes, which requires her to wear an insulin pump.
Debora’s diagnoses came as no surprise, as she has a long family history of heart disease, which has affected her grandparents, father, uncle, and younger brother. As a result of her diagnoses, Debora has become an advocate for understanding familial health history.
She uses her health journey as a way to help others who are going through similar struggles and advises people to speak up. “Learn to advocate for yourself. Always ask questions and never feel like your questions aren’t valuable,” she says. “If you feel like you’re uncomfortable with the answers or diagnosis you’re given, then keep seeking answers.”
Debora also volunteers with the American Heart Association. She, alongside millions of volunteers, works to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide life-saving tools and information to prevent and treat heart disease.
“Learn to advocate for yourself. Always ask questions and never feel like your questions aren’t valuable.”—Debora Grandison
Debora continues to inspire other patients and survivors of heart disease through #NoMOHeartDisease, a statewide initiative that works to educate Missourians on changes they can make in their lives to prevent heart disease. The campaign also seeks to unify heart disease survivors.
Each month, #NoMOHeartDisease shares the story of a heart disease survivor through a video, blog, and social media, all of which can be found at heart.org/nomoheartdisease.
The American Heart Association also posts about the campaign on their Missouri social media pages. Survivors are encouraged to share their heart disease stories and to interact with the initiative by using the hashtag #NoMOHeartDisease on social media.
Debora is currently a national Ambassador for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women initiative and will be the keynote speaker at the Jefferson City Go Red for Women luncheon this September. The luncheon benefits the Circle of Red’s Go Red for Women campaign.
The Circle of Red is a network of women dedicated to raising awareness about the prevalence of heart disease in women in an effort to save lives.