Forbish has a special inspiration for Pike County Heart Walk

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

Time heals.

Ask Kathleen Forbish about that and she will say that 30 years could have meant the difference between life and death for her baby daughter.

Her six-month-old baby died following heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart.

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Forbish believes that, with the advances in medical technology, a baby with the same condition today has a much greater chance of survival than her baby did more than 30 years ago.

“Denita had problems with congestion and she would cry and cry until she had no energy,” Forbish said. “When she was three months old, doctors found a hole in her heart. She needed surgery to close the hole but she kept a cold. She couldn’t have the surgery to close the hole until her body was clear. She was six months old and would have been seven months old the next day.”

The surgery to close the hole in the baby’s heart was done at UAB.

“Following the surgery, we were hopeful,” Forbish said. “We got to see her. She was sedated but the color had come back in her face. And, we were hopeful.”

Forbish and her husband left the hospital for a short while, but they were called.

“We lost our baby,” Forbish said. “There’s no way to describe the feelings of losing a child. I don’t want anyone to have to go through that.”

Forbish said she takes consolation in knowing that all was done for her baby that could be done.

“The surgery was the only hope,” she said. “Without it, Denita would have died. We didn’t have a choice.”

Forbish is a strong supporter of the American Heart Association and the Pike County Heart Walk because she knows that research and technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease save lives.

She said those who are diagnosed with heart disease today can face their tomorrows with greater hope than ever before.

In the treatment of cardiovascular disease, the use of coronary stents – artificial tubes used in cases of coronary heart disease to keep the arteries open – have halved the number of those dying from heart attacks or suffering heart failure. Patients with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, a small device implanted for those at risk of sudden cardiac death, now have a 98 percent chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, compared with only 5 percent without the implantable device.

That’s why Kathleen Forbish walks and that’s why she encourages everyone to support the Pike County Heart Walk on Feb. 18 at the Troy Sportsplex.

The Heart Walk begins at 5:30 p.m. and features entertainment, food, door prizes and booths with heart-healthy information and estate planning. And, of course, the Heart Walk is the main event. And, it’s all free.