As a child, Whitney Middendorf found it difficult to keep up with the other kids while playing sports. Doctors diagnosed her with exercise-induced asthma at the age of 10. By sixth grade, Whitney had quit sports. In junior high, she turned her attention to cheerleading and the dance team.
During her freshman year in a P.E. class, Whitney experienced chest pains and blacked out. After ruling out several conditions, her doctor referred her to a cardiologist. Testing over a two-year period, however, did not lead to a definitive diagnosis. In the meantime, Whitney found it more and more difficult to keep up with her dance team. Then during her junior year, an electro cardiologist discovered that Whitney had a heart arrhythmia known as inappropriate sinus tachycardia. During even mild exertion, her heartbeat was racing. Despite efforts to correct her condition with medication, Whitney’s abnormal heart rhythm continued. When Whitney returned to the doctor she underwent more observation and testing but eventually the decision was made that they were going to need to implant a device called a pacemaker. While she was nervous about the procedure, Whitney and her parents decided to move forward with the surgery in March of 2012. Thankfully the operation was a success and she has never felt better. Whitney admits that the pacemaker changed her life and she is grateful to be able to live like any other normal, healthy young adult!
Whitney will graduate from Butler Community College in May and will be moving to LA to pursue dance.
The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation's No.1 and No.4 killers, claim more than 813,804 American lives a year. Thanks to all our walkers, donors and volunteers who have accepted the challenge to help fight heart disease and stroke. We cannot achieve our mission without each one of you!