[KHTS] – Approximately 2,500 runners and walkers came to Bridgeport Park in Valencia Saturday morning for the third annual Heart Walk.
Organized by the American Heart Association, the walk is a fundraiser to cure heart disease and also raises awareness about heart disease and strokes, which are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in America.
“(The Heart Walk) is to ensure that there are more survivors that live healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Nichole Guzman, vice president at the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association has hit their set goal of $2 million raised from a series of Heart Walk events throughout the Los Angeles area, Guzman said.
“A lot of people are excited to celebrate those that they have lost… Everyone wants to be connected to the Heart Association and they’re excited to come out and support it,” said Guzman. “It’s like 2,500 of my best friends coming over for breakfast and celebrating life.”
In addition to the 2,500 runners and walkers, three featured guests participated in the walk Saturday morning.
Baby Jasmine Winning
Jasmine Winning is about 1 year old and yet she has been through more than most will in a lifetime. Jasmine was born with half a heart, a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
She spent the first several months of her life fighting to live and has undergone two open-heart surgeries to temporarily fix her heart defect.
“Jasmine is thriving now, thanks to medical advances made possible by the American Heart Association’s significant investment in cardiovascular research through generous donors,” said Steve Kuzj, a KTLA reporter and co-host of the event. “However, her battle against heart disease is not over. Doctors say Jasmine has a 33 percent chance of making it to age 4 and a 100 percent chance of getting a heart transplant at some point in the future.”
Jasmine celebrated her first birthday with family and friends at the Heart Walk.
Susan Madero survived a heart attack on Valentine’s Day, when she began noticing symptoms in a movie theater.
“Imagine sitting in a movie theater with your husband. Nearly halfway through the movie, you start feeling chest pain, an intense pressure that feels like something heavy is sitting on your chest. Then the pain spreads to your arm, your shoulder, neck and jaw,” said Kuzj. “That’s what happened to (Madero) on Valentine’s Day this year.”
Madero knew something was wrong but did not want to cause alarm and stayed until the movie was over, Kuzj said. She went to the hospital after the movie, but went home when she started to feel better.
“The next morning she woke up with intense symptoms. At the hospital she learned she had a major heart attack caused by severe blockage in her arteries,” said Kuzj. “(Madero) feels lucky to be alive and is thankful to have been given the chance to enjoy more precious moments with her family.”
Yolanda Chartan and others of the Chartan family are walking in memory of Yolanda’s son, Cameron, who lost his life at age 24 to an undiagnosed heart condition.
“On a fall day nearly three years ago, Yolanda got a call no parent should ever have to receive. Her son Cameron had passed away,” said Gabriela Rosales, weather presenter for Telemundo and co-host of the event. “Just five days prior, the seemingly healthy, active and full-of-life Cameron was with family celebrating his older brother’s birthday.”
Four days prior, Cameron called his mom to say he was sick with typical flu symptoms, then called again two days later to say that he woke up with severe chest pain, Rosales said.
“Cameron went to urgent care and was sent home with a breathing treatment to address what they thought were respirator issues. Because Cameron was so young, no one thought he had a heart condition,” said Rosales. “Cameron would be celebrating his 27th birthday two days from now if he was not taken too soon by an undiagnosed heart disease.”