Meet the Survivors: Jackie

My name is Jackie Carr and I am a stroke survivor. Every day, I did the same thing…always supported the needs of others, never prioritizing my own health. I’d been diagnosed with high blood pressure with the birth of my daughter, and through trial and error my doctors prescribed a medicine regimen that would control my “silent killer.” It was quite an easy fix, four pills twice per day. The problem was, more often than not, I would forget to take my medicine.

I considered myself to be a SuperMom. From the moment I woke up to the minute I went to sleep, I was the “get it done” girl for everyone within the household except myself: breakfast…cooked; laundry….cleaned, errands….completed, kid activities…done! In the words of my friends, I could leap tall buildings in a single-bound. With a schedule like mine, who has two minutes to take a pill?

However, my SuperMom status changed on a Thursday afternoon in 2006. I had a horrible migraine headache and really wanted to take a few minutes to rest, but resisted so that I could make dinner. By that evening, everything in my view was tilting to the left. I had a horrible headache, but justified it as being a byproduct of my “vertigo” (my own self diagnosis).

The next day, I continued my daily errands and managed to drive myself to the grocery store. It was once I left the store that I was forced to acknowledge that there was something very wrong. I could not find my car because I could not recall what type of car I drove. In an instant, my short term memory was gone and I went from remembering everything to remembering nothing.

Fortunately for me, a local neurologist ran the necessary tests to determine that I, like other moms in their early 40’s had created a perfect storm for a TIA or “mini stroke”. Migraine combined with uncontrolled high blood pressure. In the words of my physician, a TIA serves as a warning that lifestyle changes are necessary.

I have since retired my SuperMom cape. I decided that MY health is far more important than a completed task list. Each day I take my medicine, exercise, and make healthier food choices. My blood pressure reads textbook numbers (120/80) and while my lifestyle changes may not be a foolproof way to prevent a stroke, I know that I’m definitely living a more heart smart life.

I am excited to be a part of the Gene Juarez and The Hope Heart Institute show! I’m most looking forward to being around other “survivors” and hoping that my story will be an inspiration for someone else to change their life.

Living a Beautiful Life is more about a feeling than a look. Living a beautiful life means feeling grateful for ALL things; being present in the moment; positively touching the lives of others; being kind, compassionate and loving yourself.

See Jackie 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