My Heartfelt Story About Heart Disease

Post Date:August 03, 2018

While Daftly Digital videos usually focus on web marketing and technology we also review some fun tech like the Apple Watch. When doing that review, which is available at, I decided to also tell the story of how it saved my life, so that it might help others. 

On my 51st Birthday (August 8th, 2018), I am going to ride 51 miles on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail, and I am asking people "sponsor" my ride by donating to the American Heart Association. Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S.   

I purchased the Apple Watch to use as my fitness tracking device, the features of the watch allow me to track several types of activates and workouts. I started in January of 2017 with activity and calorie tracking. I managed to lose 20lbs and started to feel great. When spring hit I decided to start Biking. I live in the Cleveland area and we happen to have one of the best bike trails in the nation, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

This 110-mile stretch became the place I went several times a week trying to get in better shape.  

I would regularly ride one train stop along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway and back a total of 14 miles, and set a goal of 1 hour. After a few weeks of failing to hit that target I observed that at the halfway point I was ok, but on the return trip I was always short of breath and a little fatigued. Since I was approaching my 50th birthday and had not been as active over the last couple of years I figured it was just lack of activity. I continued these rides with the Apple Watch tracking each ride and I still could not reach the goal. 

Two days before my 50th birthday I wanted to go on a 25 miles ride. After mile 15 I really started to feel poorly. I finished the ride and went our for a birthday dinner with the family that evening, but felt nauseous and fatigued. I didn’t think much of it and continued to take my regular rides, until two weeks later. One mile into a ride I felt dizzy, I stopped, gathered myself and after a few minutes went home thinking that maybe I needed to see my doctor. I talked to my wife and she agreed, well insisted, I should see him. 

Of course, being like a lot of guys, I went to work the next day and didn’t do anything, this is where my wife stepped in, made the appointment, and insisted I go. I left the office that afternoon with the intention to return later for a meeting, but things didn’t work out that way.  

My doctor agreed I had little potential for having heart issues, based on my health and family history, but the dizziness was a cause for concern. When he took an EKG and gave me the results, I was stunned. He said I had an irregular heart rhythm and should go immediately to the emergency room! 

Since I had recently lost my Brother In Law to a heart attack under similar circumstances (otherwise healthy and no reason to believe he had a heart condition), I lost my "I am fine" attitude and went to the ER across the street. They of course confirmed my doctor's findings, and transferred me to another hospital for stress tests. 

The result? A 99% blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery - this is known as the "Widowmaker." 

All in all I am very lucky to be alive, and now I want to make sure others are aware of the signs, don’t ignore them and know that some simple exercise routines are vital to your health. 

Thank you to my Wife, my Dr., and the team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic who put a stent in through my wrist and sent me home with only a band-aide on it. 

On my 51st Birthday (August 8th, 2018) I am going to ride 51 miles on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trail, and I am asking people "sponsor" my ride by donating to the American Heart Association. Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S.

I will recognize donors (business or personal) on the website and on Social Media (if you want to be named).

UPDATE: I completed the ride and had raised $1650 (as of 8/18). The American Heart Association (after telling us this would not happen) Changed their donation platform and removed our donation page.