Recovering from a heart attack or any heart procedure can be a scary and lonely experience. It can undermine our confidence and make us question whether we can trust our body.

Donors to Providence Heart Institute are helping heart patients overcome these obstacles by supporting Pathfinders, a free peer support program to help patients find their way to greater heart health.

Pathfinders matches patients with a partner, someone who has taken a heart journey before, to provide an empathetic ear, inspiration from their experience, and encouragement during recovery.

Pathfinders volunteer Sheila Koenig recently appeared on KATU’s AM Northwest to promote awareness of the program. “It’s a real honor to work with these people,” she says. “Some are pre-operative and they’re really frightened. Others are post-operative and they’re feeling like a truck ran over them. They’re climbing a mountain that they’ve never encountered before, and we’re there to say ‘Hey, we’ve been where you are and we can help show you the way.’”

You can learn more about Pathfinders at welcometobasecamp.org or by watching this story on KATU.