MTSU students Emily Hasty and Hannah Daigle and staff member Trisha Murphy have something in common: All were affected by heart issues, either at birth or in infancy.
They were recognized on campus Friday, Feb. 7, during the university’s celebration of National Wear Red Day and American Heart Month in the Science Building’s Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium.
Nearly 60 people braved wintry weather to carry on the campus tradition of forming a “human heart” for a photo to commemorate the observance.
Those attending learned about risks and symptoms of heart disease in women and men: Heart disease affects millions of Americans each year, and heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, but it’s nearly 80 percent preventable.
Hasty was born with a hole in her heart. She also was later diagnosed with a condition called supraventricular tachycardia, an extremely fast heart rate.
When Daigle’s parents realized their infant daughter wasn’t eating properly at 3 to 5 months old, they sought medical help and learned that she had a heart murmur and one of her heart valves was leaking. She’s undergone four heart surgeries, the most recent at age 15, to keep her healthy and active.
Murphy was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, an inherited form of heart disease and the most common neonatal heart condition.
Hasty, 18, a freshman recording industry major from Newnan, Georgia, said her situation “can seem really scary at times. … Trust your doctors. They know what’s going on.”
She, for example, still played soccer but understood and worked with her physical limitations.
Murfreesboro resident and 2019 Riverdale High School graduate Daigle, 18, is undecided on an MTSU major.
She said she “can do most things,” including running with her father, Karl Daigle. “If I know I need to stop (running or exercising), I’ll stop.”
Murphy, 29, an MTSU development officer, wife and mom, also “leads a normal life. Sometimes I run half-marathons,” she said.
“For a long time, I did not take my condition seriously.”
That changed, however, when her son, James Murphy, 3, was born with the same condition; she chose to learn more and take good care of her health. Her husband, Mark Murphy, recruits transfer students in MTSU’s Office of Admissions.
Hasty and Daigle are both members of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)