Hundreds of “hearty” volunteer supporters braved Sunday’s steady rain to support the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk event at Lake Welch Beach at Harriman State Park. Many local companies’ teams walked to support the AHA’s mission of saving lives from heart disease and stroke—leading killers locally and nationwide.TriCountyHeartWalkers2016

The Heart Walk included fun activities for children, entertainment by the Nyack High School “Red Storm” marching band, health information and vendors. Blood pressure screenings gave walkers these critical numbers and raised awareness on this first day of May/American Stroke Month. Learn how to be a Stroke Hero for American Stroke Month at www.StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth.

Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke – the number one and five killers in the U.S.  The American Heart Association’s funding for cardiovascular disease, as well as pediatric cardiac research, is second only to the federal government.

Two local residents were honored for sharing their stories of survival from heart disease to raise awareness and inspire the community to support the AHA’s mission. Their stories inspired others to support the American Heart Association’s research. AHA-funded researchers developed cardiac cath and drug-eluding stents.

In November 2004, Wallkill resident, Leone Semerano, RN, thought was experiencing food poisoning but as symptoms got worse, she knew it was her heart. She had cardiac LeoneSemeranoLuchLicursicatheterization and two stents inserted into her blocked heart arteries, and returned back to work one month later. She was only 51 years old.

On September 30, 2015 Luciano “Luch” Licursi arrived to work at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and started to feel sick with sweating, tightening of the chest, and overall discomfort. He knew this feeling all too well, having had a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 39, that resulted in 50% loss of heart functionality. He had lifesaving emergency angioplasty and spent four days in the intensive care unit and is now back to work full-time.RaySharo

Ray Sharo, a 2015 Honoree, ran the route this year. He’s now running half-marathons since recovering from his 2012 open heart surgery. He had no symptoms prior to open heart surgery–just a routine EKG led to finding four artery blockages. Sharo, exercises most every day, including leading kayak tours on the Hudson River.

While research and advancements in treatments can save many lives, many more lives can be saved with simple lifestyle changes like eating healthier and walking 30 minutes every day.

To make a donation online visit www.tricountheartwalk.org or call Jo Ann Parker, Heart Walk Director at 845-542-4580.

The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by My Heart. My Life. Sponsor, Bon Secours Charity Health System; National Eating Healthy Day Sponsor, Orange Regional Medical Center; Nice-Pak, PDI, the National Walking Day sponsor;  as well as other local sponsors, Crothall Healthcare, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital,  and our new “Active Kids Challenge” Sponsor, Active International, kids’ obstacle course sponsor. Townsquare Media is the radio media sponsor.

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