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FULL OF HEART: Survivors, supporters celebrate disease research

When Linda Tillery suffered a heart attack in 1998 and had no insurance, the American Heart Association was there to help her raise $41,000 to pay for medical costs.

Now 20 years and five heart attacks later, she walked to support the organization for all it has done for her and others.

“I started walking in the Heart Walk actually two years ago after I had triple bypass surgery,” Tillery said. “I’m blessed. Anything I can do to support them, I’ll do it.”

Tillery was also a bronze sponsor of the AHA, raising $400 for the cause.

Dozens of other local residents joined Tillery in participating in the annual Heart Walk Thursday night at the Troy Recreation Center, whether survivors or just supporters.

Tracey Davis and Teresa Doty, chairs of the event, said the walk is meant to celebrate a year of fundraising for the association.

“It’s a celebration of our stroke survivors and it’s to involve our community and encourage people to get out and walk and be healthy,” Davis said. “And also to show appreciation to our sponsors.”

Davis said the local AHA has raised $22,000 this year and expects the final result to be closer to $25,000 with money that has been pledged.

They say awareness of heart disease is important, as it is the number one killer of all Americans, taking more lives than all cancers combined. This year’s focus of the organization is teaching people about reducing sodium intake to reduce blood pressure, which they said is a major contributing factor to heart complications.

The goal of the association is to educate communities about heart disease and to work foremost to prevent people from getting the diseases, as well as to fund research.

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