Stories of Impact

Norma Cummings's Story

With a long career in local politics, Rochester-native Norma Cummings is well-known in her community. She simply doesn’t have time to be slowed down by a heart condition. "You could say I’ve always been an active person. Although I’m retired now, I may actually be busier now than ever before," says the RPO and Geva Theater volunteer, Auxiliary Board Member of Monroe Community Hospital and The Salvation Army, and Mother and Grandmother to three children and seven grandchildren.

But Norma does have a serious heart condition and has been in cardiac rehabilitation for over 20 years.

Norma admittedly ignored her intermittent chest pains until one fateful evening. She was feeling especially out of sorts and went to St. Mary’s Hospital where she proceeded to have a heart attack. "Boy, was I lucky!," Norma reflects. "If I hadn’t gone to the hospital that day, I wouldn’t be here today."

After her heart attack, Norma stayed active by walking the Greece Ridge Mall and the surrounding neighborhoods. But three angioplasties, a bypass surgery, and three stents later, she knew she needed more. Norma’s cardiologist sent her to see therapists at the Unity Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. There, she got help developing a sustainable exercise practice that she deems critical to her long-term wellness. She initially wore an EKG monitor while she moved from one exercise to another, and the staff measured key vital signs and monitored her progress. Today, she exercises completely independently, going three times a week and moves through her routine in less than 45 minutes.

"To me, it’s simple – it’s a choice. This is what I need to do to stay healthy and be able to do all of the things that I enjoy doing like volunteering, traveling and being able to get out and enjoy life." Norma says. "Exercise is good for everyone, but it’s essential for someone who has had my experience. I needed some help getting into a regular routine and it’s one that I’ve maintained for more than 20 years."

Because Care Matters
Today, Norma can enjoy all her passions in life because of the exceptional care given to her through Rochester Regional Health, and the support of people like you. With your continued support, we can realize our vision to give every person in our community the resources to live a better, healthier life.

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