Beverlee O’Sullivan, of Joffre, wants to start a cardiac support group in Red Deer. She found out the community doesn’t have one. (Facebook photo)

Central Alberta woman wants to start cardiac support group

When Beverlee O’Sullivan had a heart attack 13 years ago, she said she felt like there was an elephant standing on her chest.

“It felt like I couldn’t breathe,” said O’Sullivan. “As the morning progressed I couldn’t draw enough breath to speak. We knew something dreadful was happening.”

Her husband drove her from their home near Joffre into the Red Deer Regional Hospital. After a few days, she was transferred to the Foothills Medical Centre. There she had a couple of stents put in.

Now, she’s waiting on a phone call for a bypass. In some ways, she feels alone and doesn’t have many people in the same circumstances to relate to. She says the operation will “bugger up her whole summer.”

So she decided to do something about it. After finding out there were no cardiac support groups in the area, and the nearest one being in Calgary, she has set about starting her own.

“I have no one’s shoulder to cry on,” said O’Sullivan. “I can’t drive 100 miles for a meeting.

“There must be other people who need someone to talk to who may understand where they’re coming from.”

She talked with the Heart to Heart support group, based out of Calgary, which offers some type of cardiac support. But afraid of the distance, she set out on her own.

She said the support group should be about discussing what people are going through, sharing experiences and offering a friendly hand. It may also include guest speakers.

“I just want to see if we can get some people together,” said O’Sullivan. “Pre- or post-surgery, it doesn’t matter. Just if you need someone to talk to.

“I feel desperate at times because I can’t just be spilling my beans on my sons. They’re so worried about me.”

To connect with O’Sullivan and help her start the support group call 403-885-0368.

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