Heartbreak… Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Maybe you were dumped, diagnosed with a life threatening illness, suffered loss, financial downturn, or simply gave in to fear. It’s that moment when you feel completely numb, isolated and alone, desperate for something or someone to give you faith. My own heartbreak and battle with heart disease led me to create Voices To Share… Healing Hearts One Voice at a Time. Together we'll banish self-pity, and invite prosperity in all matters of the heart. As a Heart Coach, I will share: inspirational stories that will give you courage, tips to shift your fears into love, recipes and products to live a heart healthy life.


Holly's Voice

I met Holly five years ago in a baby group class. We immediately connected through our passion for jewelry and philanthropy. Her line, CJ Free Jewelry, is unique and timeless.  Last year Holly and her business partner, actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, approached me about creating a red-corded bracelet in honor of my battle against heart disease.  I jumped at the opportunity to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association. Today, Holly and Jamie are launching a new campaign with a limited edition purple bracelet to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s is an illness that is close to Holly’s heart. I’m honored to share Holly’s voice.

Photo collage of Holly, Poppy, and his artwork.
Going Purple for Poppy
By Holly Freeman

Alzheimer’s has touched so many.  I know firsthand.

My grandfather was an incredibly talented artist. His works spanned from beautiful flowers and landscapes, to drawings of my favorite cartoon characters he made just for me and my friends. His mind was as precise and colorful as the paintings and drawings he created.

But Alzheimer’s changed that. The details and precision that had always been a hallmark of his art started to shift. There were inaccuracies—the first sign to me that his health, and more specifically his mind, were declining. 

As we spent time together while I attended college near his home, the changes became more and more painful to watch. Alzheimer’s was slowly taking him away – and more than anything, I wanted to be able stop this devastating disease.

There were good days when Poppy would turn and look at me with a half smile when I called his name or squeeze my hand when we were sitting together. These moments were small gifts – moments of recognition.  But as the disease progressed, there came a point when my grandfather didn’t recognize me at all.

I don’t want any other granddaughters to lose their grandfathers to Alzheimer’s. That’s what is driving me to help fund research, programs and care for people dealing with this disease. I’m taking action not only for the sake of those suffering, but also to spare their loved ones the pain of simultaneously living through this disease.

Back when my grandfather was diagnosed, we didn’t have such easy access to information. People weren’t on the Internet sharing their stories.  But today, we have the opportunity to come together and support one another. And we each have the opportunity to take action.

Friday September 21st is Alzheimer’s Action Day. If we each choose to do something – even if it is as small as talking openly about Alzheimer’s – we can raise awareness, get more funding for treatments, and move closer to a future where our children won’t see their grandparents, their parents or anyone else slowly be taken by this disease. 
Learn more about how you can go purple to end Alzheimer's this month at Alzheimer's Association


Jenni's Voice

Several months ago my husband forwarded me an invite to a golf tournament.  Brooke's Big Heart Golf Classic was hosted in honor of Brooke's heart transplant and to promote awareness for the organ donation registry.  Brooke Balck, a beautiful vibrant little girl was born healthy.  But as her mom shares, their world turned completely upside down when she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy at 2 months old, the exact condition I've been living with for years now.  I'm honored to share Jenni's voice with a story that will touch your heart.  

Photo of Jenni and Brooke taken from Maria Shriver's Blog

The Gift of a New Heart
By Jenni Balck
(story edited from Jenni's journal entries)

Our world was changed June 17, 2009 when we received the surprising news that our 2 month old baby girl, Brooke, was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently.  We had gone to the pediatrician for routine immunizations and as we discussed her severe colic and reflux, he noticed that a couple symptoms could double as heart issues.  Although he thought it was nothing, he sent us to a pediatric cardiologist just to be safe.  Well, we were all dumbfounded to find that the smiling, cooing little peanut in front of us was suffering a life threatening illness.... 

Technically, the surgery occurred at about 1:30AM, so tomorrow (Aug 18th) will be BROOKE’s Big Heart Day that we will celebrate and pay tribute to her precious heart donor, Malaikye, who is with us every day.  It is the anniversary of her new red lips and warm feet, a result of having appropriate blood flow for the first time in 2 years.  It is the memory of her “Christmas Tree” of IVs, and her waking up and asking to go to the play area.  Of wanting to eat chicken nuggets right away, and when we said no, she decided she’d settle for some chocolate.  It’s the memory of Brooke receiving a Joy Jar on the very day of her transplant, from a special little girl who was battling cancer near our home.  It’s knowing now that Brooke would walk the halls of the PICU (with Toms and purse) on day 2 and go home on day 8.  It’s also the day that started the year at home with her big brother, Billy, who loves her with all of his soul.  That celebration will all begin tomorrow, but today is OUR heart day, as it is the memory of the news, the emotional journey we have been on as parents, and handing over our daughter in pure faith and hope that all would go as planned....

As exciting as this milestone is, I know another family is suffering from their own anniversary.  They were so courageous to donate their sweet child’s organs and we are forever grateful to them for saving our daughter’s life.

To learn more about Brooke's story and register to become an organ donor, please visit Brooke's Big Heart.