Cecilia Rosales Ph.D.

Matters of el corazón

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I must have been 5 years old when I realized the human heart didn’t look anything like the bright red, “heart-shaped” Valentine’s candy grams, stickers and construction paper cutouts. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I was dumbfounded. By then I had blown the tooth fairy’s cover and, because of that, I obviously thought of myself as a grownup. But this was different. As I stared and stared at a picture of an actual heart in a plastic-covered tome of The Human Body of the LIFE encyclopedia, I muttered, “This is yucky.”  How that ugly piece of flesh equated love was a complete mystery to me.

Childhood is full of magic moments like that one. Now I’m awed by the physiological and metaphorical complexities of the human heart, and this I know for sure: It is beautiful and amazing. Capable of incredible feats.

Valley resident, author and philanthropist Gerda Weissman Klein knows a lot about that. She hasn’t let her experience as a Holocaust survivor highjack her heart. In “Citizen Klein” Robrt Pela presents a glimpse into Gerda’s life and the remarkable work she has done in our community. We thank Gerda and her granddaughter Alysa Ullman for sharing with Latino Perspectives their current projects and plans for the future.

We are happy to announce Robrt Pela is joining LPM as a regular contributor. Bienvenido!

February is also American Heart Month. Join us and support the American Heart Association Phoenix Start! Heart Walk to raise funds for cardiovascular disease. Each year, heart disease and strokes claim the lives of 27 percent of the more than 133,000 Latinos who die each year.  Izzy Gonzalez is among the lucky ones. During a routine checkup, his doctor discovered five blocked arteries. He underwent a quintuple bypass surgery and now is on a mission to help spread the word: “Get checked, get healthy, start now.” Read his story in the special supplement from the American Heart Association.

If you receive a Valentine gram, even if it’s the cheesy kind, remind yourself of the truly amazing powers of the heart.

Feliz día de San Valentín.

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