When Aly Franklin led hundreds of people in the Walk for Heart yesterday, it meant more to the people around her than she could have known at age four.
Franklin, who wore a tiny “Route Marshall” T-shirt and a pink bandana on her head, danced around joyfully at the event outside city hall.
Born with a hole in her heart, Franklin has come a long way. Her mother, Tina Stone, credits the Heart and Stroke Foundation as one of the reasons the little girl is around today.
When she was six weeks old, Franklin’s parents noticed she had trouble breathing and wasn’t gaining enough weight. Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario diagnosed her with atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD).
A week after the diagnosis, Franklin underwent surgery.
“My daughter’s life was saved by advances in research,” said Stone.
Walk participants raised more than $13,000 for research and public education.
“Everyone has a different reason for walking,” said Sue Flowers, senior area manager for the foundation.
“Some people are walking in memory of someone and others are survivors.”
The family of Chris Kennaway walked in his memory.
Kennaway, who aspired to be a cardiologist, died of Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in January 2007 at the age of 22.
“This is something I can do in his memory,” his mother Diana Kennaway said with tears in her eyes.
One in three deaths are caused by heart disease and stroke, said Flowers.
“Forty per cent of people in Ottawa area physically inactive,” she said. “This walk is a great way to set an example that walking is great for your heart.”