Jessica with glovesHer left side became weak. She felt a headache almost like a migraine. She slurred her words.

These are some of the classic symptoms of a stroke. Only, Jessica Diaz was anything but a classic stroke patient.

She was 36. She not only took fitness classes regularly, she taught them.

Jessica was lucky. Her stroke was the type known as a “warning stroke,” one that indicates a major stroke could be coming. By taking this seriously, doctors discovered the likely source of it all – a hole in her heart that didn’t close properly after birth. More tests uncovered a blood disorder.

Her life is back to normal now, including again taking and teaching fitness classes. She’s also become a proud volunteer for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, doing such things as discussing health policies with lawmakers in Massachusetts to hosting a fashion-show fundraiser.

This holiday, season, Jessica encourages your support of the organization.