The community Heart Walk, an event to raise money for American Heart Association research and other good work, is a central focus of my life. When one Walk ends, I set my goals for completing the next one.
Yesterday, more than 1,000 folks participated in the 2017 Heart Walk at the scenic North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. People of all ages and backgrounds participated. Lots of music, lots of energy, lots of smiles, lots of sharing of experiences in overcoming heart or stroke challenges.
This year, our Mended Hearts chapter, led by Dan Dallaire, had red-carpet and photo treatment for survivors. Photos here are of my bride of 51 years, Allyne; a mom and her young heart-surgery-survivor child, Lucas, with a hero's cape we presented him; a Coastal Carolina University cheerleader and heart mascot; and yours truly.
In completing the heart survivors' portion of the Walk, I experienced an act of kindness for which I was grateful. The temperature was rising and I was hobbling along as best I could with my Whistle Creek cane. (My stenotic back is a bigger obstacle in endurance events than my mended heart.) About halfway into the walk, a Coastal student who was walking with her sorority members, struck up a conversation with me about my cane. Turns out her grandfather who is fighting a disability makes canes as a pastime. We continued to talk all the way to the finish line -- and believe me, it really helps get you through when you can talk to a friend. We talked about health challenges, the beauty of the course as we passed a large lake, baseball, college, family -- many topics. It turns out she is beginning her studies toward the goal of becoming a Physician's Assistant.
It was so very thoughtful of her to share her thoughts with this old guy when she could have just stayed with her sorority group. No doubt she saw that walking a distance at a steady pace was something of a struggle for me. It uplifts my spirits to know that young persons like this caring Coastal Carolina University student will be helping patients with their medical and spiritual challenges for many decades to come.
I am setting my fitness goals to the 2018 Heart Walk (which will be the Grand Strand's 25th annual) right now!
© Robert Gray Holland 2017
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