Molly Burdick was only 25 years old when she had a heart attack and was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. Now 33, Burdick aims to be the first American Ninja Warrior with the condition.

Sudden Heart Attack

Burdick wasn’t always as active as she is today. In fact, most of her days were just spent in her house. However, her heart started pounding faster and faster one evening when she was lying in bed. Knowing that something was wrong after remedies did not work, she took her then-infant son to her parents’ house and then rushed to the hospital.

There, doctors tried normalize her heart rate to no avail, and they knew they had to do something before she goes into cardiac arrest. Doctors conducted a cardiovert to normalize her heart rate using electrical shocks, and she was eventually diagnosed with congenital heart disease.

She had to undergo several procedures, has a heart rate monitor to constantly check her pulse and always has her heart medication on hand in case of emergency.

Regaining Strength After The Heart Attack

After her ordeal, Burdick had to take baby steps to regain her strength. She started with the stairs in their house and then moved on to walking outside on the streets. Soon enough, she was hiking near their home and eventually joined a rock climbing gym.

Now 33 years old, Burdick is focusing on a type of rock climbing called bouldering, in which climbers scale small rock formations without harnesses or ropes.

“It made the healthy parts of my heart stronger and pump a lot better,” Burdick says, explaining that one needs to slow the heart rate, remain calm, and constantly change breathing patterns in order to get up the boulder.

American Ninja Warrior

Burdick is now training for her next goal, which is to be first American Ninja Warrior with congenital heart disease, and she states that she knows she won’t be able to achieve it if she just stays on her couch.

Burdick believes that rock climbing saved her life, and by sharing her story, she wishes to shed light on what she calls a “hidden illness.”

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