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My Unsung Hero: Live your life

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Time now for My Unsung Hero, our series from the team at Hidden Brain. My Unsung Hero tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

Today's story comes from Nancy Pardo. In 2015, Nancy and her husband, Tom, spent a few days hiking in a national park in Maine. On their walk one morning, Tom fainted. Later that day, he fainted again. So they went straight to the nearest medical center, Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, Maine.

NANCY PARDO: They did many, many tests, took several hours, blood tests, everything. And no determination could be made as to why he had fainted, so they released us. And before we left, I said, if it happens again, do we have to come back? And they said, absolutely. So we had walked about four blocks from the hospital, and we were looking at a menu to see what we might have for lunch when Tom went down again. This time, he went down harder and stayed out longer. And then, after several days at Mount Desert Island, with different medications, they determined that Tom needed a heart catheterization. So we were transferred to the quote-unquote, "big hospital," the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. And the doctor did a heart catheterization, explained that no stent was needed. He didn't find any blockages.

And the next morning, when the doctor came to release us, I asked him, what do we do now? I was very afraid. And I thought maybe he would say, you should go for this test or that test or see this kind of doctor or that kind of doctor. But he didn't say any of that. Dr. Isidore Okere - who I will remember my whole life - he said, go live your life. Go live your life. And it wasn't in a flippant way. It was his advice to us. And that's what we've done. Tom's had two bouts of cancer - in 2009 and 2018. He is fine now. We are still living our lives and taking Dr. Okere's advice as often as we can - trying not to be afraid and to go live our lives.

SUMMERS: Today, Nancy tells us that Tom is walking five miles or more a day and continues to do well. Cardiologist Isidore Okere still works at the Eastern Maine Medical Center. You can find more stories from My Unsung Hero wherever you get your podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.