Living Healthier Thanks to I Heart Dad

Jessica Strayer is a superhero. This 17-year-old from Altadena, California, saved her dad’s life when she got involved in the I Heart Dad campaign. Not only did she encourage him to get his blood pressure checked, but she also worked to raise awareness about the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Check-out more about the impact that the I Heart Dad Campaign had on her family.

DoSomething.org: How did your dad react when you asked him to get his blood pressure checked?

Jessica Strayer: At first, my dad was a little confused as to why I suddenly wanted him to get his blood pressure checked. After I explained that I was participating in a campaign that raised my awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure, and that I love him and want him to be healthy, my dad was ready to go!

DS: Was it easy to convince him to go? Did you use any special tactics?   

JS: After I explained that I care about making sure he is healthy, my dad was more than willing to go get his blood pressure checked. He appreciated that I care about his health and well-being. He was also pretty curious to see what his blood pressure was.

DS: Did your dad come back with a clean bill of health?

JS: Unfortunately, my dad's blood pressure ended up being very high. We were both shocked and pretty scared to see that his blood pressure was so high. My dad was kind of upset and thought the results might not have been correct, but when he checked his blood pressure again, the results were almost exactly the same. Later, my dad asked me if high blood pressure can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, which apparently, it can. It was scary to hear that my dad had been having symptoms for a while now. I am very glad that I took him to get his blood pressure checked because by doing so, I may have helped save his life!

DS: What were the feelings on the results?

JS: When we got the results, my dad and I were both pretty upset. We didn't expect the results to be so high! My dad immediately wanted to check his blood pressure again, and I immediately wanted him to go see the doctor. We were both pretty scared to see those results. It was hard to see that my dad wasn't as healthy as we thought he was.

DS: What is your family doing now to stay healthy?

JS: First of all, I am going to make sure that my dad sees a doctor to get information on what to do next and how to be healthier. Also, I want to encourage my mom, as well as my grandparents, to get their blood pressure checked and be sure they are healthy. Now, my family is trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and get more exercise. My dad likes to ride his bike, and my brother has recently joined water polo and loves it! My mom and I are keeping track of the foods we eat and we like to take walks to get exercise. Doing this campaign has opened my eyes, as well as my family's eyes, about the dangers of high blood pressure and the importance of a good diet and plenty of exercise.

DS: What is the status of your dad’s blood pressure now?

JS: My dad is getting ready to see his doctor and get more information about his high blood pressure and how he can manage it. I am so relieved that we went and checked his blood pressure before something serious happened. I'm glad that my dad is aware of his high blood pressure and that he is on his way to being healthier. I am excited to see the progress that this coming year will bring!

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