Local nurse national spokesperson for 'Go Red for Women' - KMSP-TV

Local nurse national spokesperson for 'Go Red for Women'

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(WJBK) -

Annette Sciberras, a cardiac nurse at Beaumont Hospital, helps fix broken hearts, but about 50 years ago her heart was the one not functioning properly. She was born with a congenital heart defect.

"Basically, what it is, is a faulty valve. As I was starting to grow my valve wasn't effectively working as I was growing up," she explains.

In 1965, right before her sixth birthday, she had lifesaving open-heart surgery. Little did she know, decades later her heart would once again be at risk.

"In my 30s, when I became so busy with both my career, professionally, and with my elderly parents, I have four kids - just trying to juggle everything that I was doing," she remembers. Meanwhile, she was ignoring her own chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. Then, in 2009, her mother passed away and Annette collapsed in grief, worrying her daughter.  

"[My daughter] looked at me and said, 'Mom, I just lost my grandma I don't want to lose you too," Annette says.  

Annette was diagnosed with broken heart syndrome, in which extreme emotion mimics a heart attack. At the same time doctors discovered a major artery was completely blocked. Annette says after that life-saving surgery, her life has changed.

Annette says she gets up and exercises with her husband and, looking back, believes her mother's death saved her life.

"She's been my angel since she helped me get through my heart disease in 1965 and she even helped me when she died," Annette says.

Annette is the national Go Red for Women spokesperson. She will be at the Go Red luncheon tomorrow at the MGM Grand. FOX 2's Deena Centofanti will be the emcee and the keynote speaker is Rosie O'Donell.

Details: The American Heart Association invites you to 'Go Red'

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