2024 Greater Akron Heart Walk
Heart Survivor: Jayce Okinaka
As a young boy who loves playing sports and being outside, people often take notice of the scar that runs down the middle of Jayce’s chest. To Jayce, his scar is his “superpower” that represents courage. It’s something he wears proudly because it reminds him that he is a survivor.
Jayce was 7-years old when doctors detected a congenital heart defect, called Atrial Septal Defect. This condition often goes undetected in young children due to a lack of symptoms but thankfully for Jayce, that was not the case. At just 8-years old, he underwent open heart surgery to close the hole in his heart.
Even though Jayce was incredibly nervous about his surgery, he faced it courageously. After surgery, his favorite quote from his doctor was, “Congratulations Jayce, your heart went from a 6-cylinder to an 8-cylinder engine.” His special heart and life-changing experience are now his “superpower”.
Jayce is now eleven years old and his heart is fully recovered. He is passionate about many sports including basketball, football, baseball, snowboarding, and will try wrestling for the first time this summer. Additionally, Jayce practices a healthy lifestyle by eating a heart-healthy diet and staying active with his family outside. Heart disease impacts people of all ages and the Heart Walk funds lifesaving research that helps further science to help kids like Jayce live longer, healthier lives. Jayce proudly serves as a youth ambassador for the American Heart Association and loves sharing his story with other children, so they don’t take their health for granted and are encouraged to make healthy choices.
It only takes a few steps to save lives like Jayce.
Sign up for the Heart Walk, step out, and share your personal why.