A thousand plus join local Heart Walk to raise awareness for cardiac health

PLATTSBURGH Just because youve had a heart attack doesnt mean you have to sit at home in a chair and be afraid to do things. Why sit at home and think, Oh, poor me, when you can be with a group of active people like this?

Those words spoken by city resident William M. Cogan summed up the sentiment of many people who turned out Saturday for the American Heart Associations annual Start! Heart Walk.

Mr. Cogan was one of many heart attack survivors who turned out for the walk at the Parc Oval. One of many donning a red cap with the words Fighting Back, Mr. Cogan was easily recognized among others who survived heart attacks, strokes, heart disease or other heart-related ailments.

More than a thousand people registered at the event, either walking, volunteering or both. It was a number very impressive to Faith Osborne-Long, regional director for the Northeast affiliate of the American Heart Association.

Our 2007 Heart Walk staff and our volunteers have all worked hard with all of our walk teams you see around you, as well as the community, to get the word out about this years walk, said Osborne-Long. And seeing you all here today is truly inspiring.

People such as William Cogan and his wife, Erma, were eager to participate in the noncompetitive, three-mile walk in order to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke and promote physical activity.

Mr. Cogan, who has suffered two heart attacks in the past two years, felt it necessary to do what he could to become an advocate for those who may have had a heart attack but not even know it.

Though this is his first Heart Walk, being an advocate is nothing new for Cogan. Twenty-five years ago, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer a form of the disease which made headlines when affecting cyclist Lance Armstrong. The ability to speak to groups and get information to the uninformed started for Cogan many years ago, and that ability remains with him when he speaks passionately about the perils of heart attacks and strokes today.

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