THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Three weeks ago, The Woodlands High School freshman volleyball player Julieta Valdes suffered a heart attack while working out with her sister.
“I don’t personally remember exactly what happened, I just know bits and pieces,” Valdes said. “I was doing triceps push-ups, and I stood up and fell right back down.”
Valdes’ sister called for an ambulance. Although Valdes has arrhythmia, the heart attack was a shock.
“It looked like I was gasping for air, but I wasn’t getting any air whatsoever,” she said.
After being hooked up to machines and in a coma, Julieta Valdes was finally able to hug her family and come home on Monday after three weeks in the hospital.
“I got to see my family, my dog, sleep in my own bed,” Valdes said.
She expected a “smooth drive home,” but was shocked when she pulled into her neighborhood.
“They all welcomed me home yesterday, which was amazing,” Valdes explained. “They all stood outside of my neighborhood and held posters while I drove by. It just made my heart feel really warm. Just to see all the people who care about me and that I care about ... seeing them after all of this.. it was so beautiful, it made me cry.”
The Woodlands community also has raised over $25,000 via Go Fund Me for the steep medical expenses.
“We got a lot of donations and that has helped my family tremendously, because this does not come at an easy price,” Valdes said.
Valdes knows the recovery journey will be a long one. She had an ICD installed during surgery that will act as a “safety net” and shock her heart should she have more issues. She can’t practice the sports she loves for at least two months. But she knows she has an entire community supporting her.
“I’ve received so much love, they’ve been amazing,” she said.
Valdes hopes other people recognize the signs of cardiac arrest.
You can find her GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-julieta-valdes-and-family