Ashley is an attorney and mom of two who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up, she was fairly active and participated in typical activities such as gym class and riding her bike. In fourth grade, she was even named the fastest runner in her grade. As she got older, she tried to stay active but noticed that she was getting short of breath and feeling tightness in her chest even when she ran a small distance at a slow pace. She mistook this for being out of shape and not exercising often when in reality, her heart could not tolerate much physical activity.
When she was about 20 years old, her nurse picked up a substantial heart murmur during a routine checkup. This prompted Ashley to follow up with a cardiologist who then diagnosed her with HCM. The diagnosis was far from a relief but it did offer her an explanation as to why she could not participate in athletics to the same extent that her peers could.
A few years passed and she began to show even more symptoms. She would be short of breath and would feel pressure in her chest upon exerting herself. The symptoms and high-risk factors for sudden death indicated that she would need an ICD (implanted cardioverter-defibrillator). Her first ICD was implanted just one month before she began law school in 2002. In 2005 she got married and while dancing at her reception, her ICD shocked her 6 times. Once the paramedics arrived, she was strapped to the EKG, and by that time, she was back in normal rhythm.