“I am so thankful to be here,” the former Biggest Loser trainer, 53, wrote in an emotional Instagram post on Tuesday, February 12. The day marked the second anniversary of his medical emergency.
“Two years ago today I had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest,” he captioned a photo of a bouquet of flowers with the words “Survival Day” typed over the image. “My message to you is to appreciate where you are in your life. No matter how hard it can get, you have the power to change anything that you want as long as you never give up.”
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Two years ago today I had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest. I am so thankful to be here. My message to you is to appreciate where you are in your life. No matter how hard it can get, you have the power to change anything that you want as long as you never give up. LIFE IS GOOD is my mantra today. Feel free to say it with me… LIFE IS GOOD!! #heartattacksurvivor #IRONBORN #bodyguardrealness #pb&j
The trainer is known for the inspirational advice and guidance he gave the contestants he coached over his 16 seasons on the NBC reality show.
February is also American Heart Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease and heart health. According to the CDC, 610,000 people die from heart disease every year, making it the cause of 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. The American Heart Association and other organizations like WW (formerly Weight Watchers) typically step up their awareness efforts with campaigns over the course of the month.
After Harper recovered, he launched the organization Survivors Have Heart focusing on helping to heal survivors emotionally. The pro confessed to Us in January 2018 that he was “confused” by his heart attack since he was in tip-top shape, ate a healthy diet and wasn’t overweight. “When I woke up in the hospital and I was surrounded by my friends and family from Tennessee and from L.A., they told me I had a heart attack,” Harper told Us that month. “I was like, ‘Did you get the story right?’ There’s no way I had a heart attack. I had what was called a ‘widow maker.’ The kind of heart attack I had was just like, boom. Lights out.” He added that it was mostly caused by a genetic condition.
The close call makes him appreciate every single day he’s alive. “LIFE IS GOOD is my mantra today,” he concluded his February 2019 message. “Feel free to say it with me… LIFE IS GOOD!!”