North Ridgeville golfer with rare heart condition launches small business to fund heart research
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nicole Gerome is looking to fund heart research through her merchandise line five years after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition herself.
“I’m really proud with who I am, the woman I’ve grown into and then also being able to do something like this,” she said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.
The business, Fore Your Heart Apparel, features a collection of apparel and items made to raise awareness of the importance of heart health.
The proceeds are donated to the Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society, or PACES, an organization that is studying the rare heart condition that affects Gerome.
The 23-year-old golfer, who is hoping to enter the Ladies Professional Golf Association, has been dealing with the effects of her condition since the age of 18.
Her heart condition is so rare that doctors don’t have a name for it yet.
“What my heart does is it beats so fast that both of my valves shut at the same time which causes no blood flow or oxygen to the brain,” she explained.
Gerome’s diagnosis came five years ago, when she first began to feel chest pain.
That pain lead to a trip to the emergency room at University Hospitals in downtown Cleveland.
“I was pretty upset,” she recalled, “one of those things like, ‘why is this happening to me?’”
Nowadays, Gerome is much better, thanks to medicine doctors found that can work on her condition.
She also received bountiful support from her family and benefited from PACES research.
The golfer hopes her products will remind everyday people of the health needs of athletes.
“There’s been a lot of times where they’re out there and some[one] just dies, and you’re like: ‘what is causing this stuff?’” she said. “I think it’s important to find more research out there.”
Gerome has done more in the past five years than she ever thought possible before, and she’s hoping anyone with a similar medical challenge can do the same.
“Never give up,” she said. “We’re all going through things. It comes down to doing your best to not letting it affect you.”
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