ALABAMA GYMNAST SPREADS HEART HEALTH AWARENESS
By WVUA 23 Reporter Lacey Beasley
February is Heart Health Month, and one Alabama gymnast wants to make a difference.
Newport Beach native Jensie Givens comes from a happy home. A sophomore at UA, she’s looking forward to the rest of her gymnastics career, but she also has passions off the mat.
At 10 years old, she learned firsthand how life-changing strokes can be when her mother suffered one.
“I knew it was bad enough that my mom didn’t know my name, and she thought it was 1968,” Givens said. “She thought my dad was just her boyfriend. She just couldn’t do like normal, everyday life things, and she would have to have a little note on her steering wheel when she would start driving me again to tell her to look down and remind herself every single time where she was driving to. And that was just totally bizarre to me as a fifth grader, like I didn’t know it was that crucial.”
Through her mother’s recovery, Givens’ heart grew more and more for spreading awareness.
“Everything was backwards; her life has just changed my whole meaning and just like, being there for her as she was always there for me, and so it was kind of a role switch during those times,” Givens said.
Ten years later, her mother is 100% recovered, but that hasn’t stopped her from giving back. Givens now volunteers with the American Heart Association and plans to continue throughout the rest of her life. Her coach Dana Duckworth fully supports her involvement in worthy causes.
“There’s something very valuable about being able to use a platform like gymnastics or an opportunity to be the head coach of a program and give back to something bigger than yourself that can make impact and make a difference in other’s lives,” Duckworth said.
Givens is now an advocate for promoting heart health, and she devotes it all back to her mom’s impact on her life.
“With surgeries and gymnastics and even just staying in the sport, she has just been equally there for me,” Givens said.