He worked hard to outrun FH
This is my first Father’s Day without my dad, Tom Davis, and I miss him.
He was 82 when he died December 7, 2022. It was only five months after my mom, Judy, passed away. Like so many of the families I have worked with at the Family Heart Foundation over the past 10 years, the Davis Family always felt we were living on borrowed time. I am so grateful for all the years we had together. Is it greedy to wish we had had just a little more?
My father had familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and he passed it on to me. He learned he had FH when we were little, and it changed our lives. My mother fully expected he would die from heart disease and leave her to raise 3 girls on her own. But statins came along, and then ezetimibe, and he took them, and he didn’t die. He exercised – running, fencing, tennis, swimming, boxing – he worked hard to outrun FH.
He lived to see me graduate from high school, then college. He walked me down the aisle when I got married, and we danced to a waltz at the reception – he loved to dance. When I was 28, and he was 57, my father had sudden cardiac arrest while playing tennis. He was revived with CPR, had quadruple bypass surgery, and he didn’t die. He lived to see the birth of my two daughters. He watched his granddaughters while I traveled for my work with the Family Heart Foundation. He told them stories of his childhood and mine and he listened to their stories. We had decades to make memories because he didn’t die from FH, thanks to early diagnosis, new medicines, and life-saving surgery.
My oldest daughter graduated from college last month and my youngest daughter graduated from high school yesterday. My father, Tom, and my mother, Judy, were not there to celebrate these milestones with us. But they had the time to leave a lasting legacy, and I am grateful for all the milestones they were there for.
Tom Davis believed in the work of the Family Heart Foundation. He supported that work by donating to the Foundation – both of my parents did. Tom and Judy both felt fortunate that our family had the benefit of early diagnosis and access to effective treatments that gave us more time together. They knew not every family is so fortunate. They wanted every family to have the time we had. They knew that the Family Heart Foundation was making that happen every day in big and small ways. Tom and Judy had a front row seat to the progress we have made at the Family Heart Foundation over the past decade because I shared my work with them. They attended the Family Heart Global Summit, and they were there for dinner with Family Heart Advocates for Awareness. They also knew how far we have to go for families affected by FH or high lipoprotein(a) who live with the threat of devastating heart disease or stroke.
On Sunday, Father’s Day, I will be thinking of my father and all the years we had together. Call me greedy, but I’m still wishing we’d had just a little more time.
I hope you will consider making a donation to the Family Heart Foundation in honor of your father, or your mother, or just someone you are grateful to have in your life. If you do, the Davis Family will match your donation to my Race to Save More Hearts.