Put Your Heart Into It, Even If it Breaks

Life throws challenges at everyone, but how you handle these obstacles is what makes the difference. Read on to see how a father’s battle with heart disease inspired those around him.


My father pours his heart into the company he purchased in 1985, even after his heart broke. I realize this statement sounds a little silly, but it was anything but at the time. My father – a seemingly healthy and happy 42-year-old – underwent double bypass surgery – just a decade after his dreams of owning his own company came true. And even though I was only in 6th grade at the time, it’s something that’s impacted me.

Heart Month

This memory is especially front-of-mind in February – Heart Month. Data from the American Heart Association shows that in 2017, on average, one person died of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds in the U.S. Luckily my dad is not part of that statistic, but my grandmother was.  March is the one-year anniversary of her passing, after a stroke. CVD (cardiovascular disease) runs deep in my family’s veins, pun intended.

Sharing my father’s story, and how he handled his own fate as a business owner, is how I honor of all those who face adversity in the workplace due to a medical condition. 

A Business Risk That Paid Off

Let’s go back to the beginning. The year I was born, my dad’s boss was retiring and selling his company. My parents decided they were going to boss up and purchased the lamination business. Being a first-time small business owner is extremely stressful. Neither of my parents went to college or had any knowledge of running a successful company. However, they were hard working and had a vision. My dad handled the manual labor, and my mother took on the books. They dealt with the usual ups and downs of life and business with grace, but it’s how they dealt with my father’s illness that’s truly inspiring.

An Unforeseen Challenge Inspires The Next Generation

One thing that remains clear is my father never let heart disease brand him. He never advertised why he was taking a leave of absence to his clients. He hired additional help to get him over the healing process and continued to deliver a quality product. He even chose to have his artery taken from his arm rather than his groin – the more common vessel used – to be able to get back on his feet more quickly. I am still in awe at his resilience and realize now more than ever how incredibly critical each decision he made, during that time, must have been.

I’m sure many have found themselves in similar situations to my father – maybe you have a sick family member, or your kid is having trouble in school or you’re dealing with your own mental health issues. The list goes on. My message is you’re not alone. You don’t have to let it define you. Control what you can control. And you might just come out on the other side stronger than before. Stay happy and healthy <3 Ashley



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