Emily Young, of Aurora, and Doyne "Neal" Brown, of Cassville, were both nominated for the 22nd annual Ozark King and Queen of Hearts. The celebration was presented by Mercy's Heart Institute and was held at Hammons Heart Institute in Springfield.
The event recognizes individuals and their family members who have made substantial and inspiring life changes to avoid additional heart problems.
Young was diagnosed with coronary artery disease in September 2010, and in November 2011, she received a third stent. She joined the Mercy cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation program in Aurora. She lost 53 pounds by decreasing portion sizes, saturated fats and sodium in her diet. She effectively manages elevated cholesterol levels with diet and medications.
Young exercises three days a week at the cardiac rehabilitation program and three days at the local YMCA. She retired from her teaching career to help reduce her daily stress. Young has had diabetes for a number of years and in 2002 began receiving insulin injections. The heart healthy changes that she has made have allowed her to end the insulin treatments. Young's commitment and success in making healthy lifestyle changes has inspired many others around her to do the same.
Brown was diagnosed with heart disease in October 2010 and required coronary bypass surgery in September 2011. Following discharge, Brown began participating in the cardiac rehabilitation program at Mercy Hospital Cassville. He has lost 30 pounds in four months by following a low-fat, low-sodium diet and participating in a weight management program with his wife, Karen.
Brown has had a steady decrease in the need for medication to manage his blood pressure and recently was taken off all related medications.
Brown motivates other patients and encourages them through rehabilitation. He has always been a very active person and was concerned that his heart problems would restrict him; however, alterations he has made to his daily routine have allowed him to maintain his energetic lifestyle.