Heart Disease Survivor Walks for Those Who Can't
Contact: Kara Harrington
(704) 940-4013

Columbia, SC, February 24 - Thousands plan to Participate, Raise Funds and Save Lives at this year's American Heart Walk. Every year, heart disease and stroke claim hundreds of thousands of American lives, making the diseases the leading cause of death in the U.S. The lucky ones survive, including mother and wife, Katrina Shuman, 33. She is walking with 4,000 other Midlands residents in the Midlands Heart Walk to fight the nation's leading killers, heart disease and stroke.

This year's Midlands Heart Walk event will be held Saturday, March 27 at 9:00 a.m. at the South Carolina State Museum. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m.

Many of the walkers like Katrina are heart disease and stroke survivors. Survivors are specially recognized with red caps, showing they're fighting back against their disease. Not only survivors are walking. Many participants walk in honor or memory of a friend or family member who has been afflicted by heart disease or stroke. "It is so encouraging to see the thousands of people from our community participate in raising money for research and education. We are all helping to save lives," says Shuman.

"While pregnant with my first child, I experienced extreme abnormal swelling and was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. Even after giving birth to my beautiful son Kaden, I continued to swell. I was suffering from congestive heart failure. Thankfully doctors quickly prescribed medication to alleviate the swelling and saved my life. As a result of the congestive heart failure and swelling, I now have a condition known as pulmonary hypertension."

Katrina is a living testimony to research the American Heart Association has funded. She participates in the Heart Walk with her employer SCANA, who last year raised more than $75,000 in the Midlands Heart Walk and was the state's top fundraising company for the American Heart Association.

The Heart Walk is a national American Heart Association event that has raised more than $326 million and is now in its eleventh-year, nationally. This year, more than 750,000 walkers will participate in over 600 locations across the U.S. Funds raised from the Heart Walk will support heart and stroke research and education programs. Research funded by the American Heart Association has yielded important discoveries such as CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery and surgical techniques to repair heart defects.

Survivors will be joined by participants of all ages for the 2.8 mile walk. Many local supporters, including SCANA, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Palmetto Health and Providence Heart Institute, are promoting employee health and wellness by organizing company-walking teams. Company teams are the backbone to the fundraising success of the Heart Walk.

"I am able to wear this red cap and walk in the Heart Walk today because of research," said Shuman. "More money raised this year means more survivors, more red caps at future Heart Walks. I hope everyone will come out, raise funds and walk, or support a walker in this year's event."

For information on how to participate, call Christina Smith at the American Heart Association at (803) 738-9540 and visit walk.americanheart.org.

About the American Heart Association

Since 1924 the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, claim more than 930,000 American lives a year. The association invested more than $348 million in fiscal year 2002-03 for research, professional and public education, and advocacy so people across America can live stronger, longer lives.