Suffolk heart attack survivor featured in national campaign

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SUFFOLK, Va .- A Suffolk father and Navy veteran survived two heart attacks.  Now, he's being featured in a national campaign to raise awareness and funding for cardiovascular research.

"I'm not the standard picture of a heart attack survivor," said Shane Mandel.  "But the reality is, heart attacks can happen to anybody at any time."

Mandel revealed on News 3 This Morning that he thought he had bad heartburn, but a trip to the doctor revealed he had a heart attack.

"I didn't know I was having a heart attack the first time," said Mandel.  "I actually drove myself to the emergency room and when the doctor came in I thought he was going to discharge me.  And he asked me, when was your heart attack?  And I said I don't know what you're talking about, I've never had a heart attack. And he said, oh no, you've had a heart attack in the last 10 days. And that was the earth shattering moment."

Mandel's story is highlighted in a 30-second video campaign from the American Heart Association.  The association's CEO Nancy Brown also cited Mandel's story of survival in a recent article for the Huffington Post.  Brown wrote that 45 percent of the U.S. population could suffer from cardiovascular disease by 2035, and annual costs related to this are expected to surpass $1 trillion.

"The more research we can do, the more families that don’t have to go home without a dad. Wives that don’t have to go home without a husband. Husbands that don’t have to go home without a wife," Madel said in the Huffington Post article.