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Heart Walk participants focus on health, support and remember loved ones

Posted at 2:37 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 15:37:57-04

There’s a purpose behind each stride — taking steps toward lives free of heart disease and stroke.

"One out of three people are affected by heart disease and stroke so we all have a reason to support our mission.”

More than 5,000 donned red at the American Heart Association Heart Walk on Sunday morning at Miller's Landing. 3 News Now anchor Craig Nigrelli served as master of ceremonies for the event aimed at showing support, raising awareness, and sharing stories of hope.

Many participants wore red survivor caps.

"We can give you statistics all day long, but until you see the faces of those affected, it really brings it home to all of us."

For heart attack survivor Reina Walls, it’s about making the most of her life, and getting the word out about health.

"I'm a survivor. So I had to celebrate. I wanted to walk with others,” she said.

In 2011, Walls survived a “widowmaker” heart attack — most commonly seen in men. It stopped blood from flowing through the main artery to her heart. Now, she says, she lives to encourage others.

"If you feel something, say something. Part of my life being here still is to bring awareness and let other people know, just take care of yourself,” Walls said.

It’s important to know the signs.

"The F is face drooping; the A is arm weakness; the S is speech difficulty; and T, time to call 9-1-1."

Some on Sunday walked to honor a loved one or to promote research for a cure. Others, like Sarah Weiss, have been affected personally.

“I went to work and collapsed in the hallway and my heart stopped beating."

"When I was 11, I had a stroke at swim team practice, and it was really scary,” she said.

Others were there to offer encouragement to those in recovery.

"Don't get discouraged. Keep the faith no matter what you're going through."