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Olympian’s Testimony of Heart and Dedication

This inspiring post has been adapted from the original article, “Heart disease survivor Dana Vollmer eyes Olympic gold,”published June 20, 2012. 

With the games underway, many of us are talking about the astonishing accomplishments that these athletes have made. Not only have the accomplishments been noted, but also the amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into their training sessions.

Well Olympian, Dana Vollmer sure has a lot to be recognized for, not only in the pool. The 24 year old Olympic gold medalist broke the 17-year-old world record at the 2004 Olympic Games for the 800m free relay. Her success has continued this year as well, bringing home the gold in her first race of the London Games. Along with the 100m free, Vollmer brought home the gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

In addition to the challenge of training for the Olympics, Vollmer was undergoing her own personal health challenges. When she was 15 years old, Dana was diagnosed with a heart defect. Both Dana and her mother, Cathy Vollmer have since become passionate volunteers for the American Heart Association. He told the audience in one presentation that “she carried an automated external defibrillator (AED) to every swim meet, ready to race to her daughter’s side to administer an electric shock if Dana’s heart should suddenly stop.”

As a teenager, Dana was diagnosed with a condition called ‘Long QT Syndrome’, ‘which causes abnormally long rest between heart beats. Due to the severity of this diagnosis, doctors told her that sports were no longer an option for Dana. However, following the operation to fix her condition, Dana dove back in the pool to continue her training schedule for the 2004 Athens Olympics, where she brought home the gold! The hard work and training continued to pay off in this years’ Olympic Games as well.

Dana Vollmer is a committed American Heart Association volunteer in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she appears frequently at events to spread awareness and inspiration about heart disease. ‘And thanks to research through the year- procedure, treatments and emergency equipment are available to save lives.’ Visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information about Heart disease! What an inspiring story and congratulations on your success and accomplishments thus far! Go Team USA!

MEGHAN DOOLITTLE