By Susan Koeppen:

I noticed something when I run. I always run with my thumbs up. I have since I was a kid. It didn’t mean much to me until the day I almost stopped running forever.

On Nov. 20, 2011, I suffered cardiac arrest while training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I almost died right there on the sidewalk. But, I was saved thanks to the quick work of some medical students who gave me CPR and the firefighters who shocked my heart with an AED.

My road to recovery has been a long one.

(Photo Credit: Susan Koeppen)

(Photo Credit: Susan Koeppen)

I spent weeks in the hospital, I had to have open heart surgery and I could barely walk, let alone run.

Slowly, but surely, I put one foot in front of the other and within a few months, I was back running again – running with my thumbs up.

Giving a “thumbs up” means so many different things: good job, you did it, nice going!

For me, it means success! I cheated death and I now live every day to its fullest. I know there are others just like me who have done something worthy of a thumbs up and I’d like you to share your success stories.

Please join my “Thumbs Up Club.” Send in a picture of yourself giving a thumbs up and tell us your story.

Did you quit smoking? Did you score tickets to your first Steelers game? Did you run a 5k? Did you just give birth to your first child? Did you climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Submit your photo below and caption it by completing this sentence: ”I’m giving a thumbs up because…”