February is Heart Health Month. BWHI is taking the time this month to bring you tips, resources and personal stories from Black women who are on the front lines of heart health. Today, we want to introduce you to Kimberly Goodloe, 52, from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Goodloe knows all about fighting for heart health. Her own journey began in 2009, when at 42, she was feeling short of breath, experiencing chest pains and feeling an overall low endurance. “I had an undiagnosed birth defect even though I had no symptoms before this, and I had no family history of heart disease,” Goodloe says.
She had her first surgery in February, 2009, to replace a heart valve. And in that same year she had surgery to put in a heart pacemaker. She underwent a total of four surgeries, with the last one taking place in 2015.
Once she started to mend from surgery, she knew she had to make some lifestyle changes. “I began a new exercise routine and made a decision to eat healthier.” She says she had a strong support system of family and friends who encouraged her to “take small steps toward a happier, healthier lifestyle.”
She learned during the process that she had to be her own best advocate, when it comes to her health. She also does her homework. “I visit various health websites on the internet to gather valuable resources, including the American Heart Association website www.heart.org shares. Goodloe is one of AHA’s ambassadors.
This year, Goodloe, who is married to her high school sweetheart, Victor, and is the mother of two children, Anthony and Mariah, hit a big milestone—she is now a proud ten-year survivor of open heart surgery.
And she understands the value of having people who care for you in your corner while you work to recover. “I tell women to please do not suffer in silence because you are not alone. Reach out to your family and friends for support,” she says.
Goodloe works hard to pay it forward. “I made the commitment to share words of encouragement to anyone facing health obstacles, on a daily basis,” she says. “I tell them to keep the faith, focus on positive thoughts, find one reason to smile every day and never, never lose hope.” She is also committed to raising awareness throughout the community and helping patients cope with the recovery process.”
Her surgeries and recovery have given Goodloe a new perspective that she shares often. “I came out of this with my faith in God elevated,” she says. “Every day is a gift and, I’m so grateful for my second chance at life.”
To follow Kimberly’s “ Journey of the Heart” visit her website at