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Patient Partner Profile: Elizabeth

Elizabeth has worked for a major health insurance company for over 19 years and is a married mother of four with one grandchild. She and her husband are avid Texas Ranger baseball fans, love to fish and take road trips across America. Smoking cessation advocacy is one of her main health passions. Elizabeth smoked for 35 years and knows that her tobacco habit, along with her family history of cardiovascular disease, was a leading cause of her vascular health challenges. In her early 40s she suffered a cryptogenic stroke followed by TIAs over the next 10 years. She eventually quit smoking and started to walk regularly but began to experience pain in her calves when walking. Her primary care doctor told her that she had Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and she was ultimately diagnosed with Severe Aortoiliac Occlusive Disease (Abdominal Aorta and Iliac arteries were 98% blocked) and told she needed immediate bi-femoral aorta bypass surgery to save her legs. After working through a difficult recovery, Elizabeth turned her focus to being active in some way each day and taking small, manageable steps to change her diet. As a result, she now advocates for self-education when it comes to personal health in order to begin lifestyle and behavior changes. Elizabeth volunteers for the American Heart Association (AHA) as both a patient advocate and National Spokeswomen for Go Red.

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