Heart walk in Greencastle will feature Chambersburg survivor

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

 On Sunday, Sept. 26 Tom Shearer of Chambersburg will represent all heart and stroke survivors at this year's Mason Dixon Start! Heart Walk in Greencastle. Shearer's story is amazing because he was the perfect example of a healthy person. He was preparing for a triathlon in July of 2006.  As he rode his bicycle over Big Flat in Shippensburg, he had a flat tire and almost wrecked at over 40 miles per hour. Once he was able to stop, he experienced a huge chest pain that extended down his left arm. This chest pain was later diagnosed as seven blocked arteries at more than 50 percent. Shearer was only 38 years old and had just completed a full marathon.

 Three heart catheterization and stents later, he continues to ride his bike and is very active.  Shearer shares, “The greatest of all gifts is having an opportunity to grow old with my family and educating others about the risks and dangers of heart disease.”

 Heart and stroke survivors like Shearer will be recognized with red caps at the walk.  Those survivors who have participated previously will receive a 2010 collector's pin.  

More than 600 individuals, representing 65 teams, are expected to take steps to improve their heart health for the 4-mile Heart Walk, scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School.  Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.  

A 1.3 mile route is also available for those with special needs. Companies, schools, community groups and survivor families are welcome to participate. Team and individual walker information is available by contacting the American Heart Association at 717-263-2870 X 4261.  New teams or individual walkers may also register online at www.americanheart.org/masondixonwalk

This year the Heart Walk is chaired by Pam Anderson of Anderson Construction. The event goal is $157,700.  

The Mason Dixon Start! Heart Walk will give walkers the opportunity to take advantage of various activities. In addition to blood pressure screenings, face painting, and sponsor displays, medical professionals will be available to answer participants' questions pertaining to heart health, diet and physical activity. This is a great opportunity to ask a professional about personal concerns.

Dollars raised from events like the Heart Walk continue to fund the Association's number one priority, research, as well as educational programs and public advocacy.  Since the American Heart Association's 1999 benchmark was established, the United States has seen a 35 percent reduction in the death rates from coronary heart disease and stroke.  The AHA's 2020 impact goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.