• Family Focus: American Heart Association to spotlight heart disease

    By: Natalie Pasquarella


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Hundreds of people in Charlotte will put a spotlight on heart disease Saturday as part of heart month.
    At the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Ball, they'll raise awareness about the number one killer of adult men and women and honor local survivors.
    "Just watching him get healthier and healthier and stronger each day,” said Thomasine Ellison.
    Thomasine Ellison is thankful her husband Jim is sitting next to her after she almost lost him to heart disease in 2010.
    "I was walking back towards the bed, I felt like I was running a marathon because I could hardly breathe,” she said.
    Fearing it was a heart attack, Thomasine Ellison called 911. At the hospital, she found out it was worse.
    "It was a 10 centimeter blood clot, and the clot began breaking. Several went to the lungs. They had to do lung surgery, open heart surgery. One broke off and went to the brain. He had a massive stroke,” she said.
    Doctors put Jim Ellison into a medically induced coma and a cooling chamber to save brain function.
    Weeks later, he pulled through.
    "I just hugged them. You know, for what they've done for me and my wife. It's just remarkable,” Jim Ellison said.
    This weekend, the couple will get all dressed up to share Jim Ellison’s story at the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball.
    Volunteer Brian Boone said the ball is about supporting heart disease research.
    "That story is a perfect example of what research and innovation is,” Boone said.
    The Ellisons said they're ready to support the cause and after a long road to recovery have a little fun too.
    "I definitely want to celebrate life, definitely,” he said.

    For more information, click here.

    Next Up: