This Heart Month, volunteer Sandy Cowin made a huge impact through sharing her story with her local news station, Spectrum News 1, which broadcast her story and the SADS warning signs across the state of New York, and writing an article for her Employee Assistance Program newsletter, which was distributed across the State University of New York System Offices.

“I’m starting to get comfortable with sharing my story,” she says. “I’m happy to finally start contributing to awareness in my community and now I don’t want to stop!”

Her father passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest in 2009 as a result of Brugada Syndrome at the age of 65. “As anyone who loses someone suddenly knows, it’s really shocking,” she says. “He led a very healthy and active life until he died suddenly and unexpectedly, although there were warning signs for many years, including fainting during a fever.”

Sandy and her siblings were then tested for Brugada Syndrome, but their initial test came back inconclusive. Seven years later, Sandy retested as part of a clinical trial at NYU Langone Health and tested positive through a flecainide infusion.  

Her son, Jackson, a high school senior, is closely monitored as well. He’s an active runner who participates in both cross-country and track. “We are under the care of great doctors and have no restrictions on physical activity,” she says. “There are many preventative measures we can take to limit the chance of a cardiac event.”

Sandy wants to spread awareness of the warning signs – to make sure that people get proper treatment and get diagnosed early. “Don’t put symptoms aside,” she says, “because sometimes the first sign could be a cardiac arrest. I am very thankful for my diagnosis so that we get the treatment to ensure a long and healthy life.”

If you’re interested in becoming a media volunteer like Sandy, click here to get started.