Meet the Survivors: Helena

My name is Helena Kovacova, and I am 61 years old. I was born and raised in Slovakia, and moved to the Seattle area 30 years ago. I have a son and a daughter, and 2 adorable grandsons who are 6 and 3 years old. I am a Skin Care Therapist and I have been working at Gene Juarez for 26 years.

On May 27th of this year I had a heart attack. I had just returned from a vacation visiting my family in Slovakia where I was already feeling some chest discomfort that was radiating into my left arm. I told myself that I would call my doctor first thing when I returned. When I explained my symptoms to the nurse she said that I needed to go the Emergency Room right away because I might have something going on with my heart. In the ER after few tests the cardiologist came in and told me that I was having a heart attack. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it because I had always felt healthy and in good shape. I was taken urgently to the cardiac catherization laboratory which revealed a 100% closure of the left coronary artery. It was treated with a coronary stent. Everything happened so fast that it took me a few days to realize that if I hadn’t gone to the ER, I might not be here today.

Now I live more in the present moment, and enjoy the time with my family and friends. I take even better care of myself and the people around me. I like to take long walks and bicycle rides and when the weather gets gloomy I like to curl up with a good book. I spend lot of time with my family; especially my grandsons and I like to cook healthy and comforting food for them.

On November 12th I will walk the runway to benefit The Hope Heart Institute. I am most looking forward to meeting other heart survivors and hearing their stories. I’m also excited to get the Gene Juarez star treatment!

To me, “Living Life Beautifully” means living a healthy life by developing healthy habits and lifestyle.

See Helena 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