I recently found out that my personalized Heart Walk Website’s story was randomly selected to be featured on the Pittsburgh Heart Walk Page and newsletter. They asked for a ‘lil bit more about Why I Walk, but I couldn’t keep it to the 1-2 paragraphs suggested. This is the entire story of “Why I Walk” (the Pittsburgh Heart Walk, which will be held October 26, 2013 at Heinz Field).
In 1987, my world literally crashed around me. I know it doesn’t take much to upset a four-year-old, but this particular event will stick with me forever.
All morning, I waited by the window for my grandparents to arrive at my little brother’s second birthday party. They never came. At some point, my mom and dad took me away from everything to tell me they wouldn’t be joining us, that my grandfather had a massive heart attack and passed away.
My grandfather was my best friend. We connected, he took me fishing, told me stories about working with trains, and told me secrets about why he loved my dad—things I am not sure even my dad knew. Losing him when I was young, and while he was (by most standards) young, hit me hard.
As I raise my own four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son, I hope that they do not have to encounter the same loss as I did. Between making sure I stay healthy (by running, eating healthy and dropping 102 pounds since June 2012) and participating in the Pittsburgh Heart Walk for the last three years, I feel like I am part of the fight.
Heart Disease has impacted so many people in our lives, and I am grateful that many of them have been given second chances thanks to medical advancements and early detection. When people care enough to donate to the cause or join a Heart Walk Team, they are joining my family’s fight to be sure that I don’t have to explain to my kids why they have lost another loved one.
This year, I’ll be joining my family (my 2-year-old Evan has been in every Heart Walk since he was born!) and my work team for the third year in a row. My goal is to raise $250 for the cause this year, doubling what I have raised in years past.
As we walk, I’ll shed a few tears for the ones my family has lost to the impact of Heart Disease (my Pappy Peterson, my dad’s best friend George), and celebrating the fact that my father-in-law and uncles Dave, Byron, and Dan are still with us thanks to the funding from events like this. I’ll continue to do what I can to fight alongside others impacted by Heart Disease and encourage others to lead healthy, happy lives. Will you join me?
Becky has walked with her work team since 2011. She and her husband Greg have two children, Arianna and Evan. You can follow her progress toward October’s Pittsburgh Heart Walk on her personal page: http://heartwalk.kintera.org/