“I’m not sure she would have done half the things she’s done if not for her heart problem. It made her fearless,” said her father, Todd Ellis. “A lot of kids might not try something, but Tabitha Ellis always said, ‘Let’s try it – the worst thing that can happen is I fail.’”

An unusual outlook for a young woman who had to fight for her very survival.

The American Heart Association reports that 8 in 1,000 babies will have a heart defect at birth, some heal on their own or aren’t problematic. Tabitha was among the unfortunate. A hole between her two main heart chambers never closed, causing a myriad of health problems – and logistics issues.

Being part of a military family, there were constant moves for Tabitha. With the health restraints and lifestyle adjustment placed on the family, her mom had to quit work to care full-time for Tabitha. As the American Heart Association explains it; at around 2½, doctors noticed a problem in a V-shaped part of the aorta known as the aortic arch. There was an aneurysm, a weakening in her artery that caused it to bulge, likely due to her heart working harder than usual to pump blood. Doctors in Texas performed a surgery that patched the hole. They also replaced a heart valve leading to her lungs that had been leaking.

At 2 1/2, Tabitha Ellis had surgery to correct an aneurysm and leaky heart valve. (Photo courtesy Tabitha Ellis)

Today, Tabitha is an actress in NYC, and dedicates her talent and much of her free time toward raising awareness and funds to prevent heart disease and stroke.

The Next Leap Forward

The words of Tabitha Ellis ‘Let’s try it – the worst thing that can happen is I fail.’

If failure is the antonym for success… why do so many people reach for failure? You might be asking yourself at this point, why does anyone reach for failure – it’s not like they’re asking for it, right? Wrong, you can count on failure if you’re one of the millions that wake up each and every day with new ideas and a bountiful of horizons… YET you decide to PLAY IT SAFE!

If you continue to play it SAFE, you will never succeed – at anything.

SAFE stands for failure and you’re doomed if you’re in SAFE MODE my friends.

S=Stalemate, A=Aloofness, F=Failure, E=Exposed

STALEMATE: catch-22, delay, draw, gridlock, impasse, pause, standoff, standstill

ALOOFNESS: distance, indifference, remoteness, standoffishness, withdrawnness

FAILURE: collapse, decline, defeat, deficiency, deterioration, flop, frustration, implosion

EXPOSED: caught, defined, disclosed, revealed, unhidden, unmasked, unprotected

We must change this talk of failure to one of confidence and success.

Tabitha Ellis has it right ‘Let’s try it – the worst thing that can happen is I fail.’