When you've been through a traumatic experience, isn't it nice to connect with someone who's been through the same thing? That's how The Mended Hearts National Volunteer Organization works and the Sioux Falls Chapter is 20 members strong. The only way in to the group is by having a broken heart and what they get out of it is a full heart by helping other patients on the mend.
Sonja Carlberg is getting ready for her "rounds" at the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls. A place she is very familiar with. She's had 3 heart attacks two stents put in quadruple bypass and eventually 3 more stents. Ten years later she is a source of so much inspiration for other heart patients through The Mended Hearts Organization.
Sonja says, "They can identify with us because we've been where they are."
Mended Hearts also holds support group meetings once a month that feature different speakers Sonja is the Sioux Falls Chapter 214 President. The support group meets the first Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Avera Heart Hospital. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Besides leading the support group, Sonja Carlberg is also one of the 13 volunteers in Mended Hearts who visits patients here at the Avera Heart Hospital. Someone is here everyday. One of her stops is Cardiac Rehab located in the Prairie Heart Guest House .
Sonja says open heart surgery and all the other procedures saved her life and honestly says it wasn't the worst thing she's ever gone through although she admits she doesn't want to go through it again. She says she loves being able to tell people who are about to go through it or are recovering from it there is life after this.
Sonja says, "When you see the relief on peoples face after you told them things will be good. They have a lot of questions like will my scar ever go away, things I wouldn't think about. When you can tell them you are going to get up and walk around and have a normal life. It's a great feeling."
Sonja leads by example. A mended heart can be a giving one because it only makes it fuller.