I am raising funds for the American Heart Association and to secure a spot in the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Anything you donate goes to a great cause and makes it possible for me to race Chicago on October 13, 2019.
I chose the Heart Association because of the serious heart disease I have and the history of AHA-sponsored research which makes it possible for me to continue to do marathons and Ironman triathlons.
It is hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that my heart is seriously compromised. But, in the summer of 2015, while training for Ironman Florida, I suddenly found that I could not run. In fact, even attempting an easy jog left me out of breath, dizzy, and on the verge of fainting. I could barely walk across a street without stopping and had to pause halfway up a flight of stairs to catch my breath. A treadmill stress test quickly revealed that I had a cardiac electrical problem known as Third Degree Heart Block (the worst kind.) When my body demands even a slightly elevated heart rate, the natural pacemaker in my heart transmits an electrical signal saying speed up, but my heart muscles never receive it. So, I am needing to pump more blood to my lungs and brain, but it does not happen.
Within weeks I had a cardiac pacemaker implanted. It took the place of my natural one and in a week I was back to running. Today, three years later, it is as if this all never happened. I am able to fully participate in training and racing extreme endurance events. Without the pacemaker, not only would I not be able to do these events, I would barely be able to walk, might be bed-ridden, or even dead.
All of this was made possible by research funded by the American Heart Association in the 1950s. The first pacemaker was implanted in 1957 and, by the early 1960s, such surgeries were becoming commonplace. The AHA continues to fund research, education, and advocacy to combat the No. 1 and No. 2 killers in the world, heart disease and stroke.
Any contribution you can make will be greatly appreciated by me and all those whose lives will be saved by the work of the American Heart Association.
I will run Chicago with all of you in my pacemaker-assisted heart.
Mahalo for your donation.