Carol Werger: survivor, canvasser and inspiration

So many of our canvassers have a personal connection to heart disease and stroke. Survivors, their family members or friends, researchers, healthcare professionals — they all know the devastation these diseases cause. And they want that devastation to stop. Carol Werger is one of them. Her story is insightful and inspirational for survivors and canvassers alike. That’s because she’s both.


In 2008, at the end of my workday, I was just about to get ready for my aerobics class. Suddenly, I felt extreme discomfort in my chest, arms and jaw. I was also sweating, nauseous and had blurry vision. Without a doubt I knew I was having a heart attack!

I remember calling home as I didn’t want to bother 9-1-1, which of course was silly! After tests at Kelowna General Hospital, I was flown by air ambulance to Vancouver to confirm that my coronary artery had dissected and that I had Fibromuscular Dysplasia. I became part of a research study, as the disease was rare and it made my coronary arteries brittle. Medication has helped and I’ve worked hard to get stronger by hiking and mountain biking.

Six years later, in November 2014, on my last day of work before retiring, a phone call with my doctor convinced me to go for emergency tests immediately! The previous night, I had experienced chest discomfort, lightheadedness, fatigue, nausea, sweating, as well as pain in arms, neck and jaw. It happened all at once and brought me to the floor. Because we were leaving for a winter holiday only three days later, I decided to just take it in stride and see how I felt the next day before taking any action (not a smart move).

I drove to the emergency department from work. But while waiting for the doctor, I had another attack! I was admitted immediately, as further tests and observations were necessary due to my past history.

Today I continue to enjoy life, staying as active as I’m able. And my husband and I are now enjoying our first grandchild. We have lots to look forward to!

Since 1990, I have been canvassing in the Okanagan for Heart & Stroke. I’m confident that the thousands of dollars that I’ve raised will help me live healthier and longer.

Wherever you are in Canada, thanks for canvassing with me!

Carol Werger