SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - On Saturday (April 11), the annual American Heart Association heart walk will raise awareness about heart conditions and the people who have them.
Alicia Funa has participated in the event for the last three years. Her daughter, Aubrey, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect when she was 40 hours old.
"She was starting to turn blue, so we were just completely shocked, we went from having a completely healthy baby to realizing she had a heart defect in a matter of hours," Funa said.
Funa said Aubrey had to be taken by helicopter to the Arkansas Children's Hospital and had open heart surgery at 10 days old.
"I knew when we were at the hospital, she was going through all of this, I was going to make it a mission of mine to help others that are in the same situation," Funa said.
Skip VanTassell is a co-worker of Funa's and is a regular at the heart walk. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2005.
"I had actually gone down for a normal physical and they were doing an EKG and noticed something irregular about the heartbeat, and they said something isn't quite right, the nerves aren't firing right and causing the irregularity," VanTassell said.
He said he has always been active, and the condition doesn't slow him down. VanTassell said he wants to make sure it stays that way so he can watch his grandkids grow up.
"They range in age in 2 to 19, so we've got seven grandkids and I want to be around for as long as I can to spend time with them," VanTassell said.
Organizers said they're expecting around 12,000 people to attend. The walk and 5-K start Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Arvest Ballpark. The event is free to the public, and people can register at the ballpark before the race.
5NEWS is a proud sponsor of the heart walk, and 5NEWS Reporter Amy Slanchik will be emceeing the event.