A mom on a mission

Heart health expo intends to help people beat ‘widow-maker’

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Carolyn Gensler never counted on experiencing two distinctly different types of heartache that would turn her life upside-down.

The first came when her 13-year-old son, Brandon, suddenly collapsed in 1997 on the running track at Parker Vista Middle School, now Sierra Middle School. The young man with an infectious smile died of an unknown heart defect. The loss was profound.

Brandon’s death caused major strain, breaking up Gensler’s marriage and making her question the things that she previously felt were concrete in her life.

Then, last May, she had a major heart attack known as the widow-maker. It was the same condition that killed the pastor who performed the memorial for Brandon just years earlier. But, somehow, Gensler survived and began dedicating her life to educating people young and old about heart health.

Gensler, who now lives in Highlands Ranch, coordinated an expo at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 at Heritage Eagle Bend in Aurora that she is billing as a one stop shop for those who have questions about the heart. Sky Ridge Medical Center cardiology chief Dr. Barry Molk will talk about heart disease and ways to avoid becoming a victim. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation demonstrations will help visitors learn the most effective way to keep someone alive.

Gensler, a senior real estate specialist, is not just focusing on heart health, but senior health in general. Companies that install grab bars, elevators and lifts will be on hand, as will experts in financial planning and insurance.

The “Save Your Spouse... Beat the Widow-maker” expo is meant to draw attention to February as National Heart Month.

“This event is my way of giving back to the world for Brandon,” Gensler said. She reminds parents to kiss their family members because they “may not see them tomorrow.” Her mission is a noble one and the message is clear.

For more information on the expo or to RSVP, call 303-799-9898.

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