I have been a part of the Penn State family for more than 50 years, having earned my bachelor and master of science degrees from Penn State. I started teaching at the University in 1970, eventually joining the faculty in health education sciences and going on to become director at the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student Athletes. I am now retired, emeritus, and live in State College.

Three days after returning from a trip to Florida I started feeling dizzy. I thought it might be a brain tumor and I immediately went to the emergency room at a local hospital. There they discovered I had experienced a massive heart attack which led to a hole in my heart between my two ventricles. Following a cardiac catheterization, I was transferred to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where the Heart and Vascular Institute surgeons performed two operations to repair my heart. I was flat on my back, tubes running everywhere for six weeks, but the care and attention at Penn State Hershey were absolutely phenomenal, and not just in cardiology. I had to go on dialysis because my kidneys had issues during the experience; so nephrology was involved, as well as neurology, occupational therapy and physical therapy. My caregivers provided continual support and reinforcement, encouraging me to do a little more each day. There was just so much help and constant attention.

Following my surgeries, I went through six months of rehabilitation and follow-up cardiology care. That allowed me to finally return to my active life, which includes serving as the scholarship chair for the Centre County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association and as a docent (tour guide) at the All Sports Museum.

I was also able to return to Penn State sporting events again. And when it comes to Penn State sports, I may be their biggest fan. I love all sports; basketball, volleyball, football, etc. Oh my yes, I’ve seen every type of sports team that exists at Penn State in action at one time or another I tell people, “I like them all, from football to fencing.” And they say, ‘fencing?’ Yup, even fencing!

I enjoy Penn State athletics so much that I even traveled to Ireland to see the football team open their season in Dublin—just seven months after my heart attack! The trip was incredible.

I hope my story makes a difference for others. “I want people to understand the great care we get here at Penn State Hershey – it’s miraculous.


Share your thoughts