Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. But more than 80% of heart disease incidence can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like moving more. The American Heart Association’s October 1st Heart Walk event at Kensico Dam got Westchester residents moving more to fight heart disease, and the money raised will fund research, and help save lives.
The Heart Walk is the AHA’s biggest annual event, raising more than $400,000 for AHA programs and research at last year’s event. This year’s event drew nearly 1,200 participants from more than 70 teams registered online. New “Move More” fitness stations were added to get even more activity at the 5K walk event. Kids and adults, and even some cadets volunteering at the event from Company E1 at West Point, tried the Plank Challenge, potato sack races, balloon tennis and more to get moving more. They ended the 5K with a dance celebration on the Kensico Dam Plaza.
“We know sitting is the new smoking and that inactivity is bad for hearts and blood vessels. We want people to move more to keep their hearts healthy to prevent the number one killer—heart disease,” said Jennifer Miller, AHA Heart Walk Senior Regional Director, “Today was a celebration that heart disease and stroke are survivable.”
Heart Walk Chair, Lori Morton from Regeneron in Tarrytown said that many young researchers receive AHA research grants as their first source of funding.
The Konow family of Ossining is grateful for research, early detection and advanced treatments for CHD. Their baby had lifesaving open heart surgery on the day of last year’s Heart Walk. They shared their story to raise awareness and were honored at this year’s event.
Kailey and Ryan Konow showed up for their 20-week prenatal appointment with the anticipation and excitement of any expectant parents. The doctors confirmed they were having a girl—but that she had a rare congenital heart defect. She was given heart tests immediately after birth last August.
Two months later, she got a simple cold and her oxygen levels dipped dangerously low. Mila Rose was put in a coma so her heart would stop working so hard and had emergency heart surgery on the date of last year’s Heart Walk to open her artery. On January 6th, she had the surgery for her full heart repair, and went home after 15 days, her heart fully repaired.
“We are so grateful for the technology and research that allowed the early detection. We’re so grateful for the doctors who continually focused in on her diagnosis and were always ready for her. She will be closely monitored for her cardiology team for the rest of her life, but her future is bright and our hearts are full,” said Konow.
CHD is the most common heart birth defect but it is survivable—the AHA journal Circulation that estimates about 1 million children and 1.4 million adults in the United States were living with a congenital heart defect (CHD) in 2010. The American Heart Association’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Learn more at www.heart.org.
The Heart Walk is sponsored by White Plains Hospital, WMC Health/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Fujifilm, Dr. Patrick W. Thomas and Mrs. Johanna D. Thomas, New York Presbyterian, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, New York Medical College, Stop & Shop, Examiner Media, The Peak, Buzz Creators, News 12 Westchester, and Westchester Magazine.
Donations are still being accepted online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org.