2023 Heart Walk
So excited to again be part of AHA Heart Walk as a participant, volunteer (both for 16 years) and this year I once again will be Chairing the Hudson Valley 2023 Heart Walk.
What keeps me coming back is the mission " To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives". Heart disease is the #1 killer worldwide and stroke ranks 5th globally (Cancer is #2- and for patients undergoing Chemo the risk of heart damage increases).
Even at a minimum heart disease and stroke can cause disability and diminish quality of life for survivor (and their family). For most of us we recently saw on our televisions that this disease is not just a disease for the elderly. A young, athletic and healthy (to the eye) young man, collapsed on a football field during a Pro game. This was a huge wake up call to all of us!! We are seeing young, healthy, and active men and women be impacted by Heart Disease more and more, but WHY!
This young man is not one in a million, stories like this are being heard more and more. As a community WE need to do more. WE need to educate our children on Heart Disease, and even more importantly WE need more research for prevetion.
The AHA has been very supportive by providing training in our communities and hospitals; providing resources and financial support to those in need; and working with parents and teachers to keep kids healthy and active while away from school, but WE as a community need to do more!!!
For those of you that I am reaching out to for the first time I would also like to share with you WHY the Heart Walk event is close to my heart. When many hear of a Congenital Heart Disease, they think this is something you learn you have at birth…however that was not the case for me. I was in my 40’s when I was given the diagnosis of Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease, which means I was only born with two leaflet valves to my heart not three. This has caused me to also develop an aortic aneurysm which is monitored very closely.
If it was not for seeing an educational video "Having a little Heart Attack" I would likely not have shared with my doctor about my symptoms. When I mentioned to my doctor what I was feeling I was more prepared to hear that my family history of Heart Failure (Grandfather, Dad, and Uncle) had now landed on my doorstep. Never did I expect to hear I had a congenital heart defect.
Educational information is knowledge and knowledge is power...which has made a difference in my life! I am now closely monitored by a family Cardiologist and know we have a plan for when/if surgery is needed.
We all have a heart and are impacted by this cause and because of events like the Heart Walk we can help make a difference. Many of you have supported me in the past, and once again I want to say THANK YOU! I hope that you can continue to help me in my quest to raise funds for Education and Research for the American Heart Association.
Our Laerdal Team will again be walking on Saturday, April 29, 2023 and appreciate any support you can offer!
With Heartfelt Thanks,