Heart D A Ventura County Heart Walk participant prepares for the event in style.

UPDATED: EVENT CANCELLED -- Area residents walk for the cure for heart disease this Saturday

By Grier King 05/02/2013

FROM the Heart Association:

 

The Heart Walk is cancelled, not postponed. However, we are planning a celebration event for a later date. Below is our official statement. 


In light of the Springs fire raging in Ventura County and in consideration of the safety of our participants, the American Heart Association is canceling the Heart Walk originally scheduled for tomorrow at the San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura. Our hearts go out to the Ventura County communities affected by the fires and our thoughts are with the firefighters and other first responders on scene. A Heart Walk celebration event will be scheduled at a later date.

On Saturday, May 4, an estimated 1,500 Ventura County residents will gather at San Buenaventura State Beach for the 22nd annual Ventura County Heart Walk.


The walk, which is organized by the American Heart Association, has been created to bring awareness and funds to the cause of fighting heart disease and stroke.


Adam Weisner, the 2013 Ventura County Heart Walk chair and vice president and manager of the Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village branch of Union Bank, is passionate about bringing the disease to the attention of the county.


“Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States, claiming more than 831,000 lives each year,” Weisner says. “More than 81 million American adults are living with one or more types of cardiovascular disease.”


According to Weisner and the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease isn’t simply a concern for older residents, as the disease claims the lives of nearly one in three infants who die from birth defects. Additionally, approximately 36,000 children are born each year with some kind of heart defect while as many as 1.3 million Americans today live with some category of congenital heart defect.


Major effects of heart disease are high cholesterol and blood pressure, lack of physical activity, and obesity. With the inactive lifestyle being passed down through society, it is likely that death rates will begin to rise from these issues, while the age of victims will continue to drop.


Although a major goal of the Heart Walk is to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease, another large aspect of the event is the recognition and celebration of three inspiring survivors of such afflictions, each of whom has received life-saving aid from the American Heart Association.


Desiree Hernandez, a 35-year-old resident of Ventura, received a second chance at life nearly two years ago when her ailing heart was replaced by a new, healthy heart.


Diane Gonneau, a 56-year-old resident of Thousand Oaks, suffered a stroke while teaching a fitness class in 2002 and has since had to relearn each skill she had acquired over a lifetime.


Bruce Newman, a 77-year-old Tarzana resident, is alive and doing tremendously well today after suffering cardiac arrest in 1987 and having his life saved by CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator). His disease is unique in that it is not one that individuals can simply protect themselves from through a healthy lifestyle.


Newman, who describes his heart disease as “really a sneaky thing,” still works full-time and rides bicycle marathons.


“People that get ill start giving up on stuff,” he says. To Newman, this walk is “a chance to get out there and do stuff in the fresh air. You’ve got to grab that when you can. … It’s a chance to make some people aware that there’s more than the usual heart [diseases] going on out there. It gives people the opportunity to ask some questions.”


Each of these survivors presents a significant accomplishment; each success exhibits the crucial nature of the work being done by the American Heart Association and inspires further research and progress.


This year, the Heart Walk’s fundraising goal is $90,000, and thus far, $38,000 has been raised. Accomplishing this goal will ensure future research and unprecedented progress for the American Heart Association and will provide countless individuals the chance to live fully and healthily again.


“The American Heart Association cannot fight cardiovascular disease alone. We need community members to help push us closer to the goal of eradicating heart disease and stroke as our leading health threats. The Heart Walk is a great opportunity to help make an impact in the fight against cardiovascular disease and make a difference in our community,” says Weisner. “People may not realize how much of an impact they can make in the fight against heart disease and stroke. The truth is, the support of the community in raising awareness and much-needed funds for the fight against heart disease and stroke is saving lives every day.”


The 22nd annual Ventura County Heart Walk will take place on San Buenaventura State Beach, 901 San Pedro St., Ventura. Registration, the Survivor Area, and Health Expo open at 8 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. 

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