DENVER - Heart disease is called the silent killer, and it's something many women don't realize they have until it's too late. Rekisha Harris, a Denver native, is one of those women.
After years of trying to have a baby with her husband, Harris gave birth to her son in May 2012. Days later, she knew something wasn't right. Her arms and legs were swelling, she was short of breath and always tired. Doctors told her the symptoms were a result of her pregnancy, until one day things got worse.
"My husband found me passed out in the bathroom at home. I was rushed to the emergency room," Harris said.
Harris, a healthy, happy, new mother was back in the hospital undergoing several tests to determine what was wrong with her.
"Not only was my heart enlarged, I had a blood clot inside of my left ventricle and I was retaining fluid around my heart so I was in congestive heart failure," Harris said.
For the next several months, she remained in the hospital and had five surgeries and a heart transplant. Doctors placed her on over a dozen medications and say they will monitor her heart throughout her life. But, despite the grim odds of survival, Harris said she was able to make it because of her newborn son.
"I would say to myself, you have to keep fighting, you got to keep having the will to stay here for him. He will never remember me, he will never know who I was, he'll be able to see pictures, but he'll never know me," Harris said.
Harris is one of ten women chosen to be a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association's 'Go Red For Women' Campaign. She spreads the word about heart disease and educates women all across the nation about risk factors and how to avoid getting it.
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