Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heart Walk

Dear Em,
This past Saturday we had the opportunity to walk in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. The heart walk is something near & dear to my own heart. We know too many people that have suffered with heart disease. Mostly, I spent the day thinking about my Grandma. She was a little, Irish woman with big personality. She was one of my best friends, & to me she always seemed invincible. Then right before I graduated from college, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital. I didn't know much except that she was really sick.

She was diagnosed with heart failure but soon discharged from the hospital. I didn't know anything about heart failure. I knew she had a few more medications she had to take daily. I assumed that it was like hypertension. As long as she took her medications, I thought she would be just fine. I thought she would some day take you on trips to see Boston & the homes of your favorite authors just like she did with me.

What I know now is that after a person is diagnosed with heart failure, they have a 50% chance of dying within five years. That survival rate is worse than most cancers. What know now is heart failure really slows people down. Many people can easily feel out of breath after just walking down the street or walking up the stairs. People suffering with heart failure often wake up in the middle of night feeling like they're drowning & gasping for breath. It breaks my heart that so many people are living & dying with heart failure.

In hopes for a better tomorrow, we walked the Heart Walk. We had a small but mighty team of seven people. As walks to raise money for a good cause go, this was definitely one of the smallest I've been a part of. Luckily, it only takes a few great people to make a big difference.

This was certainly the most beautiful walk I've ever done. We started at the Watch Hill Gazebo, looking out at the water and all the boats that were anchored. The walk took us along the coast & past many gorgeous houses & properties. We walked by Taylor Swift's House. You were hoping she would join us on the heart walk. Unfortunately, she wasn't available.

During the walk & throughout the day, you & I discussed things we could do to keep our hearts' healthy. We talked about exercising & eating healthy foods. "Well, it's a good thing I ate broccoli last night," you proudly declared to our whole team.

The Westerly Heart Walk was five miles, but once we finished we walked a little further. We went up the dune to Napatree Point & showed Grandma & Papa one of our favorite spots in all of Rhode Island. Of course, you ran right in the water & splashed in the waves.

I can't think of a better way to end a Heart Walk. It made my heart so happy to watch my healthy, little girl jumping & running & laughing in the waves. I hope my Grandma was looking down & smiling at you too.

I love you so,

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