Meet the Survivors: Heather

My name is Heather Kelley and I am a married mother of 2 teenaged daughters and I live in Bellevue. I am 49 years old and have had perfect health until this past year.

On Feb. 5, 2014 I was walking to the Seahawks Super Bowl celebration at CenturyLink Field with my 15 and 14-year-old daughters when my heart stopped. My amazing and courageous daughters called 911 and performed CPR until help arrived. The medics shocked my heart three times before they got a heartbeat. A week later I had a defibrillator implanted and it has saved my life two times already. As I have learned about heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest, I am aware of how lucky I am to be a survivor. It has been an emotional journey for my whole family as we learn to live with this new “normal.” I am immensely grateful to be alive.

I am often asked how my heart event has changed my life. I know that this is not the expected answer, but I’m not sure that nearly dying changed my life in a big way. I’m still sort of winging it, trying to be grateful every day, trying to be here, now, trying to live a life of meaning and joy.

The highlight of being a part of the show on November 12th, will be seeing my husband and two daughters in the audience cheering me on. I hope they will be proud of me for being brave and walking down the runway even though my heart will be pounding and my legs will be shaking!

To me, Living Life Beautifully means being open to the little joys and wonders of each day. It means being grateful for my ordinary, gorgeous life.

See Heather and our nine other survivors walk the runway at the GJ Fall Event ‘Live Life Beautifully on November 12, 2014 at EMP Seattle. All proceeds benefit The Hope Heart Institute and Northwest heart health education. Tickets are on sale through November 9. Buy your ticket online today at