The 2014 Orlando Heart Walk was a huge success! I set my goal at $300, and due to the overwhelming generosity of my friends and family, I raised $660!!!! This surpassed anything I even thought was possible, so I guess I will need to have a higher goal next year!!
The night before, I made a tshirt to wear. The front said “Survivor” and the back said “love your heart blog .com”. I also made a tshirt for my friend to wear that said “I walk for JAG”, which is my team name and purpose. And, I made a heart bow for my hair. 🙂
It didn’t seem like there were half as many people at the heart walk this year, which was great for me. Last year, the crowds were awful and getting onto UCF campus to park was a disaster. This year, the parking situation was a little better, and I was able to park closer to the festivities, which gave me more energy for the walk. My parents and a friend met me there. My dad, also a survivor, had only planned to do the 1 mile walk, but he was determined to do the 3 mile walk that morning!! I advised him against it, but he had his mind set!
We walked around and enjoyed the tents, free stuff, free bananas, I signed the heart wall, etc. One tent was giving away “survivor” hats from AHA. My dad already had his, so I went to the tent to get mine. The girl at the tent said, “um, these are only for survivors…”. And I said, “I am a survivor!” The other girl at the tent said, “Yeah, didn’t you see her shirt? It says she’s a survivor!” I’m sure it was an awkward moment for the girl who judged me. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered that. Like my doctor said and I’ve said before…I’m not the face of a heart attack, but it happened to me! I proudly accepted my survivor hat!
The walk began at 8am, and it was SOOOOO HOT and humid!!! I probably drank 3 bottles of water during the walk. Luckily, there were iced water bottle stops at the 1 and 2 mile markers. My dad had to stop and rest a couple times throughout the walk, so my friend and I kept going. It was a leisurely pace, which made the heat a little more bearable. And before we knew it, we were at the finish line!! It did not seem like 3.1 to me, but I was so excited that I did it!! It’s the farthest I’ve walked since my heart attack, and it was a huge milestone (pun intended) for me. My dad also completed it (not long after I crossed the finish line), and I was SOO excited for him. I could tell he was very determined and pleased with his achievement! It’s probably the most he’s ever walked. LOL.
After the walk, they had CPR dummies set out on a tarp on the grass and did a couple of training sessions for everyone. I thought this was a great resource for folks (especially kids), and many people participated. You didn’t have to do mouth-to-mouth, just compressions. It made me think that CPR should be something that heart attack survivors and their families should be required to become certified in before leaving the hospital after a heart event. My mom realized she didn’t know what to do if something ever happened to my dad, so she went to a table where they were demonstrating and explaining to individuals to learn.
It was still so hot outside (luckily, I finally found a tent that was giving away fans), but I wanted my picture with the “my 65 guy” and my fave show, New Girl (I just got my bangs done). We left shortly after the finish and went to breakfast at First Watch. It felt good to indulge (a little) after working so hard and sweating so much.
The rest of the day, I rested on my couch. I was exhausted from the heat and so proud of all the money I raised for a cause that is so dear to my heart (yep! pun intended).