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

If you think youre having a heart attack, youre not being a sissy because you get checked out, Mr. Cogan said bluntly. Theres no reason not to.

Most people go along and dont even realize whats happening until its way too late, said Mrs. Cogan. I know someone who thought they were having indigestion for two days and wound up dying, because by the time they got to the hospital, it was just too late.

Jill H. Collins, a computer department researcher with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, one of the several companies which sponsored a Heart Walk team, knows the effects of too late. Her father, the late Gilbert Hopkins, suffered a fatal stroke 12 years ago.

Thats why I walk. For him, Ms. Collins said of her father.

Her determination to honor her fathers memory led to the creation of the Wyeth team eight years ago. In that time, she has joined forces with many others affected by heart conditions, including co-worker Laurel J. Genier.

Ms. Geniers son, Mark, has suffered from tachycardia, a rapid beating of the heart, since a very young age.

We brought him home and thought he was a healthy baby, recalled Ms. Genier. At seven months old, we had to rush him off to California to have open heart surgery.

Since then, Mark, now 20 years old, has had four more open heart surgeries, though you would never know it, she said. Today, a student at Clinton Community College, he goes about his daily routine, not showing signs of his condition, she said. In fact, likely influenced to some degree by his condition, Mark is considering a career in medicine.

Inspirational stories were found all across Parc Oval field, with enthusiasm beaming from faces of those ready to do their part.

During the days events, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals was recognized for doing its part by achieving Fit-Friendly Gold Status through the American Heart Associations Start! movement. The program challenges corporations and their workforces to promote physical fitness and create a culture of physical activity in the workplace. Gold-level recognition is awarded to companies that offer employees physical activity support, increase healthy eating options at work, promote a wellness culture or implement a required number of physical, nutrition and culture activities.

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