On May 9, hundreds of U-M employees will lace up their walking shoes at the Eastern Michigan University campus as they join the effort to fight heart disease. They’ll be walking in the American Heart Association’s 2015 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run to raise money for cardiovascular education and research.
Among these dedicated walkers will be Dianne Sadler, a referral coordinator at Mott Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Medical Specialty Clinics, and her team, “Callen’s Crusaders.” Together, they’ll be walking in memory of Callen, the son of U-M co-worker Tammara Francis. Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), sadly, Callen died on the day he was born.
Making strides in the fight against heart disease
HLHS is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. As the baby develops during pregnancy, the left side of the heart does not form correctly. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is one type of congenital heart defect.
Heart defects, the most common type of defect babies are born with, affect approximately 1 out of every 110 babies. According to the American Heart Association, heart defects continue to be the greatest source of infant deaths related to birth defects.
The University of Michigan Health System is making great strides in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease through top-notch clinical and research capabilities. The American Heart Association supports these efforts and funds many cardiovascular research studies within U-M. In return, U-M is a major supporter of the AHA’s 2015 Washtenaw County Heart Walk/5K Run, which raises money for cardiovascular education and research.
Why they walk
The decision to walk in memory of Callen was a natural one for Dianne, who has participated in several Heart Walks in the past, including last year when she and her team, Ethan’s Emissaries, walked in support of another co-worker whose unborn child was also diagnosed with HLHS. Ethan, born just 12 days after last year’s walk, is healthy as he nears his first birthday.
Dianne says the Heart Walk is a good way for her and her team to show support for Tammara, to honor the memory of Callen and to raise funds for heart disease research. The team’s fundraising goal this year is $2,000.
This show of support is a blessing to Tammara, who is pregnant and unable to walk with Callen’s Crusaders. But her thoughts will be with the team as they walk in memory of her firstborn child.
Take the next step:
- To join the U-M Team, visit washtenawheartwalk.org.
- For questions or help registering, contact Tara Tomcsik (email@example.com, 734-945-5895) or Traci Fischer (firstname.lastname@example.org, 734-232-1866).
For more than 160 years, the University of Michigan Health System has been a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians and medical scientists. The three U-M hospitals have been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including a #1 ranking in Michigan and national rankings in many specialty areas by U.S. News & World Report.