Michele Straube, an adjunct professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, may be widely known as a mediator, but she is also leading a campaign to increase awareness about Atrial Fibrillation, or distorted heart rhythm, a condition that affects an estimated 5 million Americans and is predicted to affect 15.9 million by 2050.
After being diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation over 30 years ago and suffering from increasing fatigue, dizziness and risk of stroke throughout her adult life, in 2009, Straube received treatment from Dr. Nassir Marrouche at University Hospital. She has since ”regained her youth” and a normal heart rhythm, and has committed herself to publicizing the existence of Atrial Fibrillation and the procedure, MRI-guided ablation, that cures many of those who suffer from the condition.
Straube will shortly leave with her husband, College of Law Professor Bob Adler, on a trek through the Alps on the Via Alpina. This summer, they will begin in Monaco and cover more than 200 miles with an average of 3500’ elevation gain daily. Their plan is to return in subsequent years to hike additional sections of the entire 1500-mile-long route, which stretches from Monaco through eight Alpine countries to end in Italy at the Slovenian border.
”Although I had Atrial Fibrillation my entire adult life, I knew very little about its risks or prevalence,” Straube says. “Come to find out, there are millions of AFib sufferors with a reduced quality of life, but little understanding of the options for a cure, and there are an unknown number of people who have AFib, but are asymptomatic, and therefore can’t protect themselves against the 5x greater-than-normal risk of stroke. Bob and I are trekking the Via Alpina to celebrate my personal miracle, but also to get the word out that AFib exists, it’s dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.”
To read more about the couple’s trek, or donate to Atrial Fibrillation research, visit Straube’s blog at http://bit.ly/hHPG2f.