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William Land Park will come alive Saturday with over 3,000 community members walking together to fight against heart disease in the Sacramento Heart Walk. Start! Heart Walk is locally sponsored by Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute, and aided nationally by the American Heart Association. The event is scheduled to begin from 8 a.m. to noon.
The Sacramento community is very much involved, said Kristine Mosqueda-Kelly with American Heart Association. Families and individuals are participating in this event to share their stories and hopefully raise community awareness about the fight against heart disease and stroke. The event is driven by volunteers and walkers to fund lifesaving research in the cardiovascular field.
"The American Heart Association has had a significant impact in the lives of countless families through its research efforts, community education outreach, advocacy and healthcare quality improvement efforts," said Mosqueda-Kelly. "AHA-funded research has contributed to many important discoveries such as CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects. These are medical breakthroughs that has saved countless lives and continue to save many lives everyday." Said Mosqueda-Kelly.
One survivor is Grace Brown, age 6 1/2, of Antelope. Brown was diagnosed at 2 1/2 years old with a congenital heart defect called coarctation of the aorta. At only 3 1/2 years old, she underwent lifesaving surgery for her enlarged heart.
"We were told without surgery at some point, she wouldn't survive past her 30s," said Angie Brown, Grace's mother.
Now two years after her surgery Grace has been weaned off her medication and the family is confident that her future will be bright.
"[At the Sacramento Heart Walk] we honor her for her courage and what she went through, " said Brown said. "My father passed away from a heart attack at the same time when she was diagnosed in 2006," Brown said. "I am very passionate about this cause."
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in the United States, respectively. "Anybody at any age can have risk factors," said Dr. Maxine Barish Wreden, physician with Sutter Health. "Children or teenagers can have high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, diabetes."
Obesity, can be directly related to the food we eat or don't eat as children, said Wreden. This can be easily preventable by the lifestyle choices we make with proper diet and exercise. The chance for stroke, hypertension and heart is significantly reduced by the type of food we consume, she said.
Along with community awareness, there will also be free health screenings, educational information, and heart-healthy snacks and beverages. Family-oriented activities in the Kids Zone will be providing free activities, such as the milk mustache contest, sponsored by Foster Farms Dairy. There will also be a health fair and free massages. Live bands will provide musical entertainment, as well.
For more information, visit the Start! Sacramento Heart Walk website.
More information about cardiovascular disease can be found at the American Heart Association website.