Chapter Spotlight: San Luis Obispo, California

Mended Hearts California


It is not surprising that Michael Mariscal has achieved so much with Mended Hearts Chapter 415 so quickly. After his own cardiovascular experiences he decided it was something he needed — and, likely, what others needed as well.

His journey in health began with a heart attack in 2007, a time when he lived in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California. He subsequently moved down the California coast a bit to the San Luis Obispo area, but had a second heart attack in August of 2015. At this point he received a six-way coronary artery bypass graft surgery — CABG, as it is commonly called — at the French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.

So as of January 2016, Mariscal asked the question: “Where can I find social support from people with similar experiences?” After some searching, a cardiologist told him about Mended Hearts.

It was exactly what he was looking for. But at French Hospital there was one problem: the Mended Hearts chapter had ceased to exist several years back. “I faced adversarial voices,” he says of naysayers he encountered. But within months he managed to resurrect Chapter 415 San Luis Obispo.

Mariscal credits Dignity Health, the corporate parent to French Hospital and the nearby Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria (both have cardiovascular surgical units), as well as the American Heart Association (AHA) and Coastal Cardiology, a physician group, for getting their chapter started. With volunteers helping, they recruited 120 people to attend a grand reopening event in July 2017.

In 2018 the chapter participated in the AHA’s Go Red campaign addressing women’s health with a sponsored speakers’ presentation. Drawing up to 27 people for monthly meetings, Chapter 415 is also getting some of their members accredited for patient visits (Mariscal was accredited in 2017).

Chapter 415 is now scheduling afternoon and evening meetings to accommodate members’ work schedules. Mariscal is the heart of this operation that beats once again.

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Ladies, listen to your body and get a second opinion if you've experienced heart attack symptoms. Women perceived as low-risk for heart attacks are frequently misdiagnosed.

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