2 Johnston City school co-workers share a medical experience that brought them together

Two women in southern Ill. share a special bond after experiencing heart attacks in 2022.
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 9:20 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 10:21 PM CST
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JOHNSTON CITY, Ill. (KFVS) - Two women in southern Ill. share a special bond. They are co-workers at Johnston City schools, but a shared medical experience is what really brought them together.

Third grade teacher Melanie Emery said she was really in shock whenever they said that she was having a heart attack.

Until a year ago, Emery had no health issues. Then in February of 2022, she started complaining of what she thought was acid reflux, heartburn or anxiety. In reality she suffered a heart attack.

“I was so surprised and anybody that knows me knows that I cry, panic, freak out and I was just cool, calm, making jokes,” said Emery. “So definitely God was with me then because I would not have been acting like that I would have been falling apart.”

But Emery isn’t the only Johnston City school employee to suffer from a heart attack in 2022.

Johnston City School District Secretary Beth Roberts said she was having trouble walking the trash can back up the hill by her house. She said it is not a big hill but she still had trouble breathing when walking up it.

That complication prompted Roberts to see a doctor. She would end up having bypass surgery.

“I went in there, I was in surgery for about 7 hours maybe 6 hours,” said Roberts. “And they kept telling my kids that I was doing fine and I came out of surgery had a little trouble waking up and after I woke up I was good.”

Now Emery and Roberts have a special bond.

“We keep in contact with each other,” Emery said. “She works here at Washington and I work out at Lincoln, but we’re always encouraging each other to get out and exercise to eat healthier, you know we have that bond that we, cause we both suffered this.”

Both Emery and Roberts said if you are feeling any type of pain you should get it examined.

“I really want people to realize that if they have a pain, if they think something’s wrong, to make sure that they get it checked out,” Roberts said. “It’s very important cause if you get it checked out it might not be anything but it might mean you need a stint, it might mean you need bypass surgery.”

February is American Heart Month and this Friday is National Wear Red Day, which both bring attention to heart disease among women.