Fairfield County Heart Walk & 5K Run this Saturday

Fairfield County Heart Walk & 5K Run to benefit the American Heart Association will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. Registration at 8:30 a.m., Welcome program at 9:30 a.m., and Walk begins at 10 a.m.

The event combines heart-healthy exercise with fund-raising to make an impact on the nation’s #1 killer — heart disease. The AHA invites the public to join the fight against heart disease and help save lives. Registration is open online at fairfieldcountyheartwalk.org.

Lauren Tvardzik

Lauren Tvardzik

For Shelton resident, Lauren Tvardzik, this walk is personal. Her first surgery, after congestive heart failure, was at age three. Initially, her physician diagnosed her with a heart murmur, but the real cause was a mitral valve not working properly.

“It turns out that I was actually born with a deformed mitral valve and it finally gave up after three years of being overworked,” she said, “But I made it through, and I am a survivor. I went on to play sports throughout the rest of my high school career, I held a job, and I even got my driver’s license. I was able to be a normal teenager and enjoy it. The only thing different about me is my scar, which I wear proudly every day, and the tick of my valve. I believe in taking care of myself, especially my heart.”

Georgia Green

Georgia Green

Georgia Green is a heart transplant survivor from Stamford. She was told that an infection might have attacked her heart, causing heart failure. She used an LVAD, left ventricular assist device, to keep her heart pumping until a heart transplant donor was found. After nine months on the LVAD, she received a new heart.

“My new birthday is November 7th and I have been doing well! I go to rehab, now I go to the gym 4-5 days for per week. I did a 5K walk and hiking, dancing and travelling. By the grace of God I will live, love and make sure I serve others with no fear. I am looking forward to meeting the people who gave me their love of this beautiful heart and keep praying for guidance,” she said.

Both women will be honored at the Heart Walk and Run–the AHA’s biggest annual event, with a goal to raise more than $300,000 for AHA programs and research. The event encourages walking 30 minutes daily to prevent heart disease and stroke. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes—all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at www.heart.org.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. In fact, Nearly 801,000 people in the U.S. died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in 2013 — that’s about 2,200 deaths per day. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined, including women. CVD causes one in three deaths in women.  And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects. About 356,500 people experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States — survival is only about 8% nationally.

About 795,000 people have a stroke every year, and it is the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S., killing nearly 129,000 people a year. African-Americans have nearly twice the risk for a first-ever stroke than white people, and a much higher death rate from stroke. The toll of CVD on society is devastating, pervasive and chronic. The AHA supports research and programs to combat these killers, locally and nationally, and funding comes from events like the Heart Walk & 5K Run.

“The American Heart Association’s impact on the health of Americans and Connecticut residents, is compelling. The AHA supports groundbreaking research, development, and technologies; new legislation; youth education; and so many other incredible initiatives. I feel very grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization,” said Fairfield resident, Bob Conklin, volunteer chairperson of the event. Conklin, the New York Metro Assurance Leader at PwC, Conklin.

The Heart Walk is the AHA’s biggest annual event, with a goal to raise more than $400,000 for AHA programs and research. The event encourages walking 30 minutes daily to prevent heart disease and stroke. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes — all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at www.heart.org.

The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s Healthy For Good campaign to empower Americans to make small, simple changes on a daily basis that add up to good health over time. The AHA also supports organizations with their workplace wellness goals through the Workplace Health Solutions initiative. Learn more at heart.org/workplacewellness.

The Heart Walk and 5K Run is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by Cause Sponsor, Stamford Hospital; Frontier Communications; PwC; and Stop & Shop.

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