Kaweah Delta holds ‘Be Heart Smart’ forum


Judy Araque was not the typical heart attack victim. The then 59-year-old nurse specialized in heart disease. In fact, at the time of her heart attack she was leading a team of nurses in the cardiac wing of Kaweah Delta Hospital.

Araque exercised regularly, ate healthy and was extremely active in the community. But despite her extensive medical knowledge and healthy lifestyle, Araque still fell victim to heart disease.

It was while traveling to the Philippines that Araque began suffering from severe shoulder pain. Araque ignored the pain. Araque ignored the pain but after a 13 and a half-hour flight she was unable to carry her luggage and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she stayed for a month. It was later discovered that Araque had a 100% blockage in her right artery.

In an effort to raise awareness about women’s heart health, Kaweah Delta is partnering with local organizations to help women get expert answers to health questions with a free cardiac health forum titled “Be Heart Smart.” The interactive forum will take place on Monday, Feb. 8 starting at 6 p.m. to be held at GateWay Church in Visalia and moderated by journalist Paul Hurley.

Araque will open the forum with her own personal journey as a heart attack survivor. A year after her heart attack, Araque is the director of medical surgical and critical care services at Kaweah Delta Health Care District. “I would have never thought I would have a heart attack,” shared Araque.

This informative and supportive community health event will feature a panel of health experts and community members, who will provide a comprehensive picture of heart disease, from prevention to diagnosis, linked health concerns including stroke and stress, as well as recommended nutrition and exercise.

“Women often make the health decisions in the home,” explains cardiologist Dr. Harry R. Lively. “Too often they are so busy taking care of others that they don’t focus on themselves. Also, most women are not aware that their symptoms of a heart attack can be very different than in men.”

The panelists include: Dr. Teresa P. Daniele, cardiologist; Dr. Kevin L. Ferguson, director of the Stroke Program at Kaweah Delta; Ed Richert, director of the Employee Assistance Program at Kaweah Delta; Captain Teresa Lovero, firefighter at Visalia Fire Department; and Leane Sapad-Trevino, registered dietitian at Kaweah Delta.

GateWay Church is located at 1100 South Sowell Street in Visalia. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 559-624-2463 or visit kaweahdelta.org.

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