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Patient Stories

Latasha Aiken’s Two Miracles

Latasha Aiken had always dreamed of being a mom. When a life-threatening heart condition almost took that away from her, she was heartbroken. Aiken, 41, started experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms in 2017, which she soon found out was caused by congestive heart failure. She went to multiple doctors…

He died three times – UF Health saved his life

At 49 years old, Will Manser thought he was invincible. One day, in June 2019, Manser was driving to Lake City to drop his son off at school. He stopped for some breakfast and then was on the road to work. Four days later, he woke up in UF…

Novel AFib heart surgery gave Roseann freedom from fear

  Roseann Vitassa is a retired international art dealer living with severe atrial fibrillation, or AFib. It means she has an irregular heartbeat that could lead to a blood clot, stroke and even heart failure. Vitassa’s heart journey started when she went to a hospital in New Port Richey…

Cuthbert Allen’s fight for his life

When delivery driver Cuthbert Allen was in Neptune Beach enjoying his hobby of remodeling homes and heard a pop in his chest, he didn’t know his journey to a healthy heart was just getting started.  Allen bent down to lift two boxes of flooring when he heard the…

UF Health gave Annette confidence for her heart treatment

Annette Powell had always been an athlete. She was a collegiate basketball player with no prior health concerns. So in  2007, at age 43, this Ocala high school dean was concerned when she experienced an attack of shortness of breath, dizziness and heart palpitations that stopped her in her tracks.

Nancy Iafrate’s second chance at life

It was just like any other day for Nancy Iafrate. The sun was shining as she enjoyed quality time in Gainesville with her family and played with her two young grandkids. Smiles, laughter and joy were contagious during the play date as hours flew by like minutes. As…

Heather’s lifelong battle

By Alisha Katz Heather Lowery’s parents were told that she would likely not live to be 3 months old. At 36, Heather has proved them wrong and has set an example for adults living with congenital heart disease. At 8 months pregnant, Heather’s mother learned from physicians that Heather’s…

Moving mountains: All Andy needed was a chance, and a miracle

By Bill Levesque The boy’s heart was dying. And no one could save it. Karen Reyes said a prayer as she sat beside her son, Andy Herrera, a few weeks after his heart surgery. Her boisterous 12-year-old with the outsized personality unsettled her in his stillness. “Andy, Mommy’s with…