Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

aturday November 3 was a beautiful breezy day, perfect for a walk on the Mall. So I, along with Tracey Neal of WUSA 9, and 6,000 other walkers, hit the trail for 2.9 miles as participants in the 13th annual Start! Heart Walk. Along the way, we raised $1.2 million for the American Heart Association.

Heart disease is an issue that affects me every day, and has for a long time. My wife Susan’s brother died at the tender age of 14 from cardiomyopathy. Her father succumbed to it when he was 63. Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle and an enlargement of the heart that usually leads to congestive heart failure. It’s a congenital disease, so it’s passed on from one generation to the next. Susan has it, and so does our daughter Sarah. To protect their hearts against arrhythmia (when the heart races), they have both been implanted with defi brillators, designed to shock
their hearts if arrhythmia occurs. And while a defi brillator offers a measure of security, it can’t dispel the concern of a husband or a father for his loved ones.

Two years ago, Susan’s younger sister had a heart transplant at Johns Hopkins. It was successful, and a great relief to our family, both on account of my sister-in-law’s health, but also because unless science comes up with a way to shrink the human heart, my daughter Sarah is a likely candidate for a heart transplant, too. She is 25 and healthy, and you would never know from meeting her that she might need a new heart.

I participated in the Start! Heart Walk this year for Susan, and Sarah, and the 870,000 Americans who die of heart disease every year – the number one cause of death in this country. The American Heart Association is leading the fi ght against coronary disease through research, education, and community service programs, and I was proud to be one of the thousands of walkers, volunteers, and supporters who made this event possible.


I also feel the need to thank everyone at SunTrust Bank for their enthusiasm and efforts during the past year as part of the Start! Fit- Friendly Company program, that SunTrust enacted with the help of the AHA. SunTrust’s involvement in the communities we serve has always been an important part of our relationships, and I was very proud of all those who helped to raise over $100,000 to support heart disease and stroke research. Together we can make enormous strides in combating heart disease, and the Start! Heart Walk was a great step in the right direction.

For more information on the Start! Heart Walk, visit www.americanheart.org



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