Hundreds of Fairfield County residents came out for the May 19th Fairfield County Heart Walk and 5K Run at Sherwood Island State Park on Sunday. The event benefits the programs and research of the American Heart Association. Donations are still being accepted at www.fairfieldcountyheartwalk.org.
Fairfield County resident, Arun Kapur shared his story of survival from an aortic dissection in 2014. Though he worked out quite frequently, his heart artery spontaneously tore, requiring an intensive nine-hour surgery at Stamford Hospital to repair it. Today, he is healthy, active and grateful for a new shot at life, including activities with his grandchildren.
Survivors were honored and presented with Survivor Red Caps and thanked for their support. A moment of silence memorialized those lost to heart disease and stroke, including Josh Spector. He died five months ago at age 17 from a heart condition caused by the “Desmin” gene which causes heart muscle hardening and eventually congestive heart failure. Despite medical interventions and treatments, Josh died on December 19, 2018. His mother and father, Deanna and Mark Spector, walked with a team of family and friends wearing orange shirts—Josh’s favorite color.
“Our team Captain Maura Simpson reminded us frequently Medical breakthroughs require money for research. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to fund science to help others,” said Mark Spector.
The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s Healthy For Good movement designed to help Americans create lasting change in their health and life, one small step at a time. These changes can help prevent more than 80% heart disease and stroke incidents. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Healthy For Good encourages healthier eating, including colorful fruits and vegetables, exercising 30 minutes daily, and focusing on whole body wellness including reducing stress and getting enough sleep. Learn more at healthyforgood.heart.org.
Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke – the number one and five killers in the country.
Funds are needed to find cures for illnesses like those which claimed the life of Josh Spector. American Heart Association—the largest funder of cardiovascular research after the Federal government--currently funds 52 researchers in Connecticut at a funding level of $9,063,654 in 2019. AHA research grants have funded advances like bypass surgery, microsurgery and drug eluting stents, understanding cholesterol metabolism, Hands-Only CPR, implantable pacemakers and heart failure therapeutics. Thirteen Nobel Prize winners have received American Heart Association research grants.
The Heart Walk is sponsored by EY, Norwalk Hospital, Philips, PwC, Stamford Health, 95.9 The Fox Radio, and Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
Winners of the women’s 5K race were first place, Carly Arsenault (24:52); second, Brooke Sheehan (25:25); and third, Melissa Groher (25:52). For the men, Artur Zeka won first (23:15); Christian Sheehan was second (24:12 – brother of Brooke Sheehan); and third place was Cameron Crainer (24:53).