Looking for Big Hearts
The importance of supporting the American Heart Association during the annual spring fundraising event: The Heart Walk
Beating the Odds
It was a special day for Jeff and Tina Nickel; one of those “big” appointments during Tina’s pregnancy—right up there with finding out they were pregnant and hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It was the 20-week ultrasound—and while they weren’t finding out the sex of their baby, they would be finding out how Baby was developing.
The high school sweethearts—who had just been married in June—assumed, at this appointment, they would hear the words “Everything looks just fine.”
Instead they heard that they needed to see a specialist.
“We went home in complete shock,” says Tina.
In the CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center of the St. Cloud Hospital, a fetal echocardiogram was performed by Dr. Chip Martin (most often referred to as “Dr. Chip”), pediatric cardiologist/neonatologist. He also ordered a level II ultrasound.
The diagnosis? Their baby had a congenital heart defect, with a severely underdeveloped left ventricle. According to the American Heart Association, congenital heart defects are America’s No. 1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
Tina went in for non-stress tests every two weeks until she was 32 weeks along, and then weekly from that point on. Baby continued to grow… and grow and grow. When it was close to her estimated due date, her ob/gyn recommended an induction. On March 11, 2004, Jaden Louise Nickel was born at 9 pounds and 20 inches long, welcomed by a medical team and a helicopter on standby.
After just six hours in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Jaden was back in her parents’ arms. She nursed well, she was breathing ok, Jeff and Tina were given the green light to bring her home.
A few days after being discharged, Jaden went into heart failure. She was seen by Dr. Jamie Lohr, pediatric cardiologist at the University of Minnesota. Her first open heart surgery was scheduled. She was four weeks old.
Jaden had four open-heart surgeries from April to September, battling many complications in between. Five years later, she had a fifth open heart surgery to replace a mitral valve.
Today she is 8, with two youngers siblings—Spenser, 6, and Tayler, 2. She sees Dr. Chip once a year, takes five daily medications, and owns a special monitor that tests her blood. She can’t play contact sports, ride on rollercoasters, or soak in hot tubs. What she can—and does—do is read, play house, participate in 4H, bowl, and swim. In many ways, she’s your typical 8-year-old.
Only she’s not.
“She has endured more in her short time on earth than some 80-year-olds,” Tina says.
When you meet this charming little girl, you’d never know what she’s been through. Her smile is contagious. She leaves a positive lasting impression.
In February of 2005, Jaden’s family formed their first Heart Walk team, “Walking for Jaden.” Over the past eight years, they’ve raised more than $25,000 for the American Heart Association.
“The Heart Walk provides an opportunity for community members to rally together for a cause and make a difference,” says 2013 Heart Walk Chair, Eric Elliott, president and CEO of Prime Therapeutics. “My company is planning to engage our employees during this important effort.”
The Heart Walk provides a “common ground” for those who have been affected by heart disease or defects; she says, a celebration of life and all its infinite possibilities.
Join Jaden and her family at the Heart Walk. They know all too well that research saves lives.
May 4, 2013—Target Field, Minneapolis
7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Free family health fair with giveaways.
Start a team online today! twincitiesheartwalk.org
Love Yourself First
The Weight Loss Will Follow
For Lori Quinters, all she had ever known was what it was like to be overweight.
A self-described “chunky kindergartener,” she says she steadily gained weight throughout the years until she weighed nearly 350 pounds at her heaviest. She couldn’t fit comfortably in small cars, restaurant booths, or bathroom stalls. Even just a short walk left her out of breath, her joints ached, she lost hair, she had acid reflux, she retained water.
In 1996 she had a baby, Simon. When Simon—“an awesome son”—was 9 years old, Lori married Shane, the love of her life (and—in the process—acquired three amazing stepkids). The Coon Rapids resident had a good job, an excellent family life, and still she ate destructively and rarely exercised.
“I liked to eat and eat big,” Lori says. “If I was alone, it almost felt ‘cozy’ to eat and watch TV until I would practically pass out I was so full.”
In 2003, she made the life-changing decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. She lost 150 pounds, but was still a heavy smoker.
In 2009, she successfully kicked the nicotine habit, but hit a roadblock with her weight. She gained back 50 pounds “practically overnight.”
Tired of the emotional weight gain/loss rollercoaster, she had a revelation on a sunny spring morning in 2011.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m tired of being fat,’” she says. “I started walking that day and everything clicked.”
She replaced her addiction to unhealthy food and cigarettes with a healthy addiction to walking, researching “good for you” food options, and learning about natural remedies. She enrolled at the Meta Institute, where she’s one test away from being a therapeutic life coach.
She was an American Heart Association Lifestyle Change Award finalist last year, honored for her healthy lifestyle changes at the 2012 Twin Cities Heart Walk at Target Field.
Her advice to others who are frustrated with their weight is to find out why they eat. “To keep the weight off and not abuse your body, you need to find out the why.” She also says it’s important to schedule time for you. Don’t feel guilty. You deserve it. Weight loss is an ongoing journey, stick with it, even if you face setbacks.
Lori, who recently celebrated her 46th birthday, says it’s a great feeling—to finally be healthy, and happy, and at peace with her body.
She comments, “Today I feel loved—by me.”
Nominate yourself or a loved one for the 2013 Lifestyle Change Award to be honored at the Heart Walk on May 4 at Target Field. The award is sponsored by Medica. Apply online today at heart.org/TwinCitiesLifestyleChangeAward
Twin Cities Events 2013
Go Red For Women and Heart Month
January 22, 2013
Go Red For Women—Twin Cities Annual Lunch & Learn
Marriott City Center, Minneapolis
9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Attend this annual fundraising event with the Twin Cities top women executives.
» More info at twincitiesgoredluncheon.org or Alicia.email@example.com or 952-278-7922.
February 1, 2013
National Wear Red Day
Join millions of women and businesses across the country and “Wear Red” to raise awareness to fight women’s No. 1 killer—heart disease.
» Download free materials at goredforwomen.org
February 9, 2013
Go Red at MOA
Mall of America, Rotunda, Bloomington
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Attend this free health fair with information, give-aways and fun for women of all ages.
» More info: heart.org/TwinCitiesGoRed or Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-278-7910
- Go Red Fashion Show with student designs & survivor models
- Share Your Story—Go Red Casting Call
- Healthy Cooking Demonstrations
- Health Screenings
- CPR Training
February 12, 2013
Heart on the Hill
February 17, 2013
Red Dress Collection Fashion Show—MNFashion Week
Graves 601 Hotel, Minneapolis
MNFashion hosts this unique show with local celebrity designers and local celebrity models. The proceeds benefit Go Red For women.
» More information and tickets: reddressmn.com
March 9, 2013
Second Annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life: Bobby Z and Friends
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Drummer Bobby Z hosts a concert to raise heart-health awareness on the second anniversary of his heart attack. Starring Maya Rudolph as “Princess” with Gretchen Lieberum, QuestLove and more surprise celebrity guest artists.
» More info and tickets: www.heart.org/BenefitConcert
May 4, 2013
The Heart Walk
Target Field, Minneapolis
7 a.m.-1 p.m.
Free family health fair with giveaways.
» Start a team online today! twincitiesheartwalk.org