On the afternoon of November 6, 1996 my family's life was tragically affected by the sudden death of my mother, Nirmala Gupta; her death was caused by a massive heart attack. I cannot sum up in a few lines how much she meant to my father Mukat, my sister Monica and especially to me. Nirmala was a cherished, compassionate, supportive, gentle, kind-hearted, loving, selfless, loyal, nurturing treasure that was devoted to her family and friends. Having recently celebrated 25 years of marriage, her life came to an abrupt end at the young age of 46, unbeknownst to us by underlying heart disease.
In case you are wondering how big the scope of this issue is here are just a few facts from the CDC website:
- About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.
- Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. For American Indians or Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer.
The bottom line is heart disease doesn't discriminate between gender, race, ethnicity or age and can effect anyone around us including ourselves.
Over 20 years later, I am now reaching a milestone in 2018 by turning 40, as well as celebrating 10 wonderful years of marriage to my wife Deepa. Along the journey we have also been blessed with two very active, enthusiastic and amazing twin 4 year old boys Malan and Devin.
In order to continue to preserve and honor the legacy of my mother, I have decided to run the Chicago Marathon this year. Not only will this be a form of tribute to her but to promote awareness and raise contributions towards the research, treatment and prevention of heart disease. I will be running for myself in order to promote a healthy lifestyle, not only now, but for the future. I will also be setting an example for those around me, specifially my boys so they can hopefully see that any small part you can play in giving back to those around you can go a long way, which is something my mom truly believed in.
I am committed to raising a minimum of $2,500 for the American Heart Association, but I know with the support of family and friends I can raise much more.