CHESAPEAKE, Va. – A mother who survived two strokes is representing Chesapeake in the American Heart Association’s Women of Impact competition. The competition is an effort by the local association to highlight health advocates from each of the seven cities in Hampton Roads who are raising awareness about stroke and heart disease.
Tamika Quinn was just 27 years old when suffered two strokes after giving birth to one of her daughters. Doctors said her strokes were brought on by uncontrolled high blood pressure and obesity.
"I never thought at 27, the headache that I woke up with would actually be a stroke," said Quinn during an interview on News 3 This Morning. "I had to relearn how to walk, how to feed myself. I had to relearn everything."
Quinn said it wasn’t until years after she recovered that she took action to change her eating and exercise habits. When her then eight-year-old daughter Cashara developed high cholesterol and obesity, Quinn made a shift to save their lives.
"It was so high, they immediately sent us over to CHKD to see a cardiologist," Quinn remembers. "I didn't want that for my daughter."
Quinn said her family joined a weight loss program at CHKD to learn proper nutrition and how to change their habits at home.
"For us to be successful, we had to have our entire household on board," said Quinn. "We are a team and we are making this lifestyle change."
Quinn said it was also important to reinforce to her daughter that being overweight had nothing to do with her beauty or self-worth, and that they were making changes only to improve their health.
Quinn has maintained 80 pounds in weight loss over several years, and her daughter has maintained 40 pounds in weight loss. Most importantly, they say, are their healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
"You can totally change your health just by dieting," said Quinn. "It can be done."
You can learn more about Tamika’s journey and join her team here.