Two Stamford women will be honored at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk & 5K Run event on Sunday, October 25th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. They are both survivors of heart disease and have shared their stories to help raise awareness for the number one killer—heart disease.
Karen Janos is a nurse at Stamford Hospital where she works to improve the lives of the many patients she crosses paths with, but earlier this year, she became the patient. Janos was diagnosed years ago with high cholesterol. Although she was a nurse and aware of her family history and the importance of medicine, she admits that she did not take the prescribed cholesterol-lowering medicine, her diet was not ideal and she didn’t exercise enough.
“On April 26, 2015, I experienced what I thought was indigestion. I also have gastro-reflux, so I had some water and crackers to try and ease what I thought was acid indigestion. This went on from 8:00 PM until the morning when my significant other found me on the floor crying with unbelievable chest and back pain. I told him to just leave me and go to work but he made me go to the emergency room,” Janos said.
The EKG there showed a STEMI heart attack—the deadliest type of heart attack. It requires timely cardiac catherization to open the blocked artery to avoid permanent heart damage, or worse—death. She said within 15 minutes of arrival at the emergency room, she was brought into the cardiac-cath unit. The American Heart Association helps to create STEMI systems of care and improve existing ones to ensure prompt, seamless, effective treatment to STEMI patients to improve survival.
“The procedure was a success and I left the hospital four days later, well aware that I’d been given a second chance at life,” she said. Janos attends cardiac rehabilitation and is changing her lifestyle.
Dody Green always lived a healthy, active life, walking regularly. She does not smoke, has always done her own chores around the house and yard, including mowing and trimming 120 hedges on her property. She even did snow removal. Green is 79 years old.
But this past fall and winter, she experienced difficulty breathing, arm pain and fatigue when she shoveled and cleared the snow from her car. She began to document her symptoms, and when she finally went to the doctor she learned she was in immediate need of open-heart surgery—a quadruple bypass. She underwent the procedure on February 17th and is now up and as peppy as ever.
Although this was Green’s first bout with heart disease personally, it is not new to her family. Her late husband, a veteran of the Korean War, received several stents when he was alive. Her son had a heart attack at 50 years old and three subsequent surgeries. He suffered for a year with heart failure before having a heart transplant. When asked why she is walking in the Heart Walk she said, “My son is why.”
Walkers and 5K runners may register online at www.fairfieldcountyheartwalk.org to support the fight against heart disease and stroke. Companies interested in supporting the Heart Walk with sponsorship or teams should contact Kevin Byrne at [email protected] or by calling 914-640-3262.
The Heart Walk & 5K run is the AHA’s biggest regional event with nearly 1,000 participants walking to support AHA programs and research. All pre-registered 5K runners will be offered official times. The run is sanctioned by USA Track and Field (USATF). Registration for runners is $35 which will benefit the American Heart Association.
The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by Signature Sponsor, Stamford Hospital; Regional Chain of Survivor Sponsor, Westchester Medical Center Hospital; Frontier Communications; PwC; Stop & Shop; and Media Sponsors 95.9 Fox Radio and the Hour Newspaper.