The southeast Cherokee County resident is receiving national attention for her volunteer work with the American Heart Association.
Mrs. Couch will appear on NBC TV's "Today" show at 10 a.m. on Friday to talk about her personal battle with congenital heart disease and the association's annual "Go Red For Women" campaign.
A volunteer spokeswoman for the campaign, she also is featured in the February issue of Woman's Day magazine now on newsstands.
Mrs. Couch, 47, who is retired from a career in finance, said she wants to help women become more aware of their bodies and more proactive in taking care of their health.
While her condition was congenital, women can prevent their chances of heart disease by just making simple lifestyle adjustments, she said.
"You never know when it's going to affect you," she said.
The "Go Red For Women" campaign is designed to make women aware of the prevalence of heart disease, said Darrya Lipscomb, Atlanta communications director for the American Heart Association.
One in three women dies of heart disease each year, according to the association, and more women die of the disease than the next four causes of death combined, including breast cancer.
And at least 80 percent of all cases of heart disease are preventable, Ms. Lipscomb said.
Mrs. Couch was chosen as a spokeswoman after interviewing last February at Perimeter Mall.
"I had completely forgotten about," the interview, Mrs. Couch said of her surprise about later being selected. "I didn't expect it."
Ms. Lipscomb said Mrs. Couch's story resonated with the judges, as did her extensive family history with heart disease.
Mrs. Couch's battle with heart disease began when she was 26 years old and pregnant with her son, Blake.
She experienced shortness of breath throughout her pregnancy and went into premature labor. The medication used to stop the labor caused her to experience heart failure.
Mrs. Couch said doctors told her she would eventually need a heart transplant.
"When you're 26, you just don't think that'll happen," she said.
Her heart regained about half of its strength after the failure, but nine year later, its function began to decrease.
She was unable to breathe at night as her heart wasn't strong enough to pump fluid from her lungs. She moved to the Atlanta area to be close to her sister, Valerie Green, who was battling the same condition at the time.
Mrs. Couch said she and her sister traveled back and forth to Emory Healthcare to manage their condition.
Her sister took a turn for the worse, and her heart grew weaker. Ms. Green passed away in December 1998, leaving behind three boys, B.J., Travis and Joseph. Mrs. Couch took her nephews in, despite the fact that she was getting weaker herself.
On her way to work one day, Mrs. Couch decided she couldn't make it and drove herself to Emory. The doctors told her she couldn't leave the hospital until she received a heart transplant.
She sent her son and her three nephews to live with her brother, John Bafford. She received a transplant on Feb. 4, 1999 and stayed in the hospital three months for recovery.
Mrs. Couch now takes a daily regiment of medications, which help her feel better. "A weak heart is worse than the side effects I go through," she said.
Bafford, who lives in Gilbert, S.C. also suffers from the same condition and received a heart transplant on June 25.
He said he's proud to see his sister take their family battle public.
"I think it's great," he said. "She's a good role model for women."
Photo credit: Turning Leaf Photography/Kristie Andraschko