She endured the difficulty of open heart tragedy at just 12-years old. Now as an adult, she uses that experience to help others facing the same challenge.
April Stamper is an exercise physiologist in the Cardiac Rehab unit at the Hazard ARH, but she says a childhood event is what inspired her to help people after heart surgery.
“At 12 years old, I went out of state for heart surgery, for a condition, it was W.P.W., Wolfe, Parkinson, White Syndrome, it was an extra pathway through one of my ventricles,” says Stamper.
But as an adult she decided she wanted to give back to the people in Eastern Kentucky.
“When I first started I was using all those big terms you use in college and I realized, I was like I’m in a community where I need to be down to earth and I need to use my personal experience with patients,” says Stamper.
Stamper and her patients say they are more like family. James Wiseman suffered a heart attack and underwent 10 1/2 hours of open-heart surgery.
“The first couple of months I was hospitalized here because of fluid build-up. Hey, I’d be up in the room and the first people I’d see in the morning would be the group from down here,” says Wisman.
Stamper tells her childhood story of surgery to inspire adults to keep going.
“I don't think I would be where I am today without it,” says Wisman.