Women's College Hospital Foundation - Catherine Atkins

Lives Changed

Catherine Atkins

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Catherine knows all too well the impact that heart disease can have on a family. For generations, no woman in her family has lived past the age of 60 as a result of hereditary heart challenges. With the help of Women’s College Hospital’s Cardiac Rehab Program, Catherine intends to break that cycle. 

Nine years ago, Catherine developed an irregular and faster than normal heartbeat. To help regulate her heart, she underwent an operation to have a special device placed in her chest. But she and her doctors knew that in order to achieve her goal to live well into old age, Catherine had to focus on getting healthy and strong. That’s when she was referred to WCH’s Cardiac Rehab Program, the first heart health program of its kind in Canada focused specifically on women. 

At Women’s College Hospital, Catherine participated in a 12-week course that focused on exercise and making healthier lifestyle choices – and she quickly got hooked. So hooked, in fact, that she requested to return for a second round of the full course. 

“Women’s College has given me confidence and the ability to say, ‘Yeah, I can do this – I can exercise and get healthy!’” Catherine says. “I feel stronger and more secure in my health. I intend to be the one in my family who goes above and beyond – who lives past that life expectancy of 60 for the women in my family.” 

We are so grateful to Catherine for sharing her powerful story. The next time you visit Women’s College Hospital, be sure to look for Catherine’s photo and inspiring message on elevators throughout the facility. 
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