SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Hundreds of western Massachusetts residents walked for healthy hearts Saturday. 22News spoke with heart disease survivors and their families about how the annual Heart Walk helps with their recovery.
Most people don't see it coming.
Dan McDonough, walking with Team Lenox, told 22News "A couple years ago, one of our long term employees, Dwayne "Bubba" Anderson, died suddenly of heart attack."
Robert Berry, Manager of Baystate Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, said he got involved in the cardiac rehab program because of his mother. "My mom died of a massive heart attack when she was 54 years old," he said.
Heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases continue to affect millions of Americans daily.
Philip LaCombe, walking with Health New England, said "Heart disease manages to afflict all the people that we know. I think everybody knows somebody. The person closest to me is my own brother."
McDonough said "There isn't a day that goes by that we don't get a story, whether it's a young child or someone's father, grandfather, grandmother, cousin that has had some issue that relates to heart disease."
So on Saturday, hundreds of people put on their red shirts and red hats for the annual Heart Walk.
Heart disease can affect people of all ages, and many western Massachusetts residents are walking for their loved ones who are now on a long road to recovery, sending a message of hope to everyone affected by heart disease.
Bruce Chobot, heart disease survivor, told 22News "I got my strength back. I just went back to work recently, three weeks ago, and I'm healthy now. They don't know how I got healthy. They don't know how I got sick. It's great. You get a second chance. You know, it's awesome."
Berry said "We can't do anything about the fact that you have cardiac disease, but what we are trying to do is teach you how to live with it, live well with it and live long with it."
22News is a proud sponsor of the Heart Walk. 22News reporter Laura Hutchinson was there to kick off the event.
Ways to prevent heart disease:
- Regular exercise
- Healthy eating
- Quit smoking
More information here .