Janesville50.3°

Heart smart: Walkers raise money, celebrate new lives

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 30, 2010
— For most walkers, Sunday’s heart walk was a stroll in the park for a good cause.

For others, it was a celebration of a new life and a way to “pay it forward” for future heart patients.


About 700 walkers gathered at Palmer Park for the 2010 Bert Blain Memorial Start! Heart Walk.


The walk is in memory of Blain, the first heart walk chairman who died of a heart attack 10 days before the first walk in 1993.


That year, about 75 walkers raised $4,000.


This year, about 700 walkers are expected to raise about $300,000, said Tom Luedtke, corporate events planner for the American Heart Association.


Start! is the American Heart Association’s program to get America walking. Physical inactivity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, and the organization is trying to get people moving.


Ron Joers, 59, thought he was getting enough exercise. He had a truck route that included picking up recyclables, and he spent a lot of time getting in and out of his truck and lifting heavy items.


In 2007, he had to have a stent put in his heart, went through cardiac rehab and now is a new man.


“I give all my credit for my second life to my doctors and the rehab people,” Joers said.


He continues to work out at Mercy Hospital’s cardiac rehab center and plans to do so for “as long as my health allows,” which he hopes is a very long time.


The McDonald Law Office put together a team for the event that included Pat and Kathy McDonald, family and friends.


Both Kathy’s father and Pat’s mother had heart problems. Kathy’s brother contracted congestive heart failure from a virus and recently received a heart transplant.


Janesville City Councilman Tom McDonald led the team to a victory—of sorts.


Teams carried signs identifying their businesses.


“We were the first group with a sign to finish,” said the younger McDonald. “The team from Gilmore & Marinaro Family Dentistry was catching up, but we held them off.”



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