Hudson heart disease survivor engages guests at NH Heart Ball
Anna O’Donnell, 13, of Hudson, shared her story of survival during the NH Heart Ball in Windham on Saturday night. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)
But upon meeting the 13-year-old Hudson Memorial School student, she doesn’t hesitate to share her personal struggles, or the reason why she hopes to one day become a pediatric cardiologist.
“I love sharing my story with people,” she told a crowd of over 300. “Because I’m alive today because of the work done by the AHA.”
Andrews said proceeds from the Heart Ball would be used towards meeting the organization’s mission of reducing heart disease and resulting deaths by 20 percent by the year 2020.“All of the funds we earn stay right here in New Hampshire for research and patients support,” she added.Dressed in a pink, sparkly dress, O’Donnell, who attended the ball with her parents, Marie and Brian, and members of her extended family, noted, “sometimes the work the AHA does is hard to see.”
In recent years, some of the organization’s successes have included the widespread placement of heart defibrillators in public community centers, making restaurants and public places smoke-free and education initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to avoid tobacco.
“There’s only one or two things I can’t really do,” she said. “Sometimes I get out of breath a little faster than my friends do.”
Canobie Lake Park shuts down popular ride