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Brave pageant queen champions heart health after surviving six heart attacks as a teen

Jude Maboné had suffered 6 cardiac arrests by the time she was 18, so she understands how important it is to take care of cardiovascular health.

Brave pageant queen champions heart health after surviving six heart attacks as a teen
Cover Image Source: Jude Maboné attends The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection Concert 2024 (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Jude Maboné was 16 years old when she had her first heart attack and by the time she was 18, she had five more heart attacks. Miraculously, she has moved forward with her life, claiming the crown of Miss District of Columbia in 2023. The 28-year-old also participated in this year's Miss America pageant but didn't win the title (which went to Miss Colorado, Air Force Officer Madison Marsh). Her decision to foray into the world of pageantry was inspired by the Sandra Bullock-starrer "Miss Congeniality," per CNN. But despite all her success, she had isolated herself and was quite embarrassed about having a condition that people commonly associate with old age.


"This is the most indiscriminate disease in the US, and it's also the thing that's killing the most people," Maboné said. "That's why a big part of me taking on the Miss America platform was to destigmatize this." Maboné used her opportunity and fame to advocate for heart health and spread awareness about cardiac emergencies and ailments. She joined hands with the American Heart Association and other organizations to promote preemptive heart health awareness that helped people from the community get access to screening for detecting any undiagnosed cardiac conditions.

"Most people don't survive one heart attack — I survived six," Maboné stated. "So I felt like there was a purpose there and there was a responsibility to help other people be better off than I was." Raised in Southern California by a single mother who served in the Navy, Maboné grew up in a disciplined household, engaging in sports, learning an instrument, mastering a second language, and undertaking leadership activities. While participating in competitive track events in 2012, Maboné first encountered her cardiac problems.


Maboné knew those were the first signs of an impending heart attack, which she had learned about in health classes. "Looking back now, I would have stayed put and had someone run somewhere nearby to call 911. Calling 911 is always the first thing one should do when someone is experiencing symptoms and I'm grateful to be equipped with that information and to be in a position where I can share with others what to do in a cardiac emergency," she said, recalling how she took herself to hospital. "My doctor who diagnosed me told me that she believes that this type of condition is either hormonal or environmental, but we can't pinpoint where it came from because it's not genetic,” Maboné continued. "It's very inconclusive."


Heart disease kills more people than cancer,” she explained. Initially, Maboné thought that she had bypassed the age of participating in Miss America, but when the pageant came under new leadership and they increased the upper age limit of the contestants to 28, Maboné knew she had an opportunity. The pageant also announced a partnership with the American Heart Association as its national philanthropy partner. “I thought, ‘All of these things are aligning. I should humble myself, get over my pride and try this one more time,’” Maboné admitted. According to WTOP News, Mabone teamed up with MedStar Health to do CPR awareness videos. Because she knows American Sign Language, her video also includes her using ASL to reach the deaf community."


“A lot of people don’t even know that heart disease is our number-one killer,” she told theGrio. “Most women don’t know that cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of women.” She noted that Black and Latino women are “more likely to die than their white female counterparts” from heart disease. “We have to get so serious about our cardiovascular health as early as possible. I think that we tend to think of it as an older person’s disease in this country," she urged. She expressed her gratitude and reminded people not to ignore the symptoms of heart attack and to get them checked as soon as possible.


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