LANSING - Nearly 600 participants will gather at the Cooley Law School Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 10th for the 2015 Greater Lansing Heart Walk.
"Right now, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, actually woman more so than men. It's an important message to get out to people that a lot of it is preventable," said Rodney Parkkonen, Heart Walk Director.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans are fighting heart disease every day. Five years ago, Rick Wendorf, Heart Walk Chair, went to the doctor for an endoscope, but what he learned that day was more than what he expected.
"During that time, my heart was racing at about 250-275 beats per minute, and the anesthesiologists was unable to perform the endoscope at that time because they couldn't put me under," said Wendorf.
To make matters worse, Wendorf was hit with another complication just two years later.
"I was bit by a spider and almost lost my leg, which generated a whole new series of heart ailments within that spider bite,"
Diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, also known as A-Fib and the most common type of Arrhythmia, Wendorf experiences rapid, irregular heart beats.
"That's what it feels like, your heart is beating so fast, you're running a race all the time."
Those who have A-Fib may not feel symptoms, but if not treated, it can increase their risk of a stroke.
"Flu symptoms sometimes can parallel that of a stroke. Since we're heading into flu season, many people will say 'no, no, no, that's just it. I've got the flu, or I have a cold,' when in actuality, that's not what they have at all," said Wendorf.
The fundraising goal this year is to raise $85,000, which will go towards support and research efforts for the American Heart Association.