Brooke Haney of Bigler was born in 1994 with a congenital heart disease known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome in which the left side of her heart was underdeveloped. On Sept. 29 Brooke will represent all local heart disease and stroke survivors as the child chair for the 2013 Centre County Heart and Stroke Walk.
The annual walk to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention and to raise funds for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association will take place from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in State College.
Just 24 hours after she was born, Brooke underwent her first open heart surgery. She underwent her second open heart surgery five months later and her third at 17-months-old. Brooke lived well until she began experiencing more complications at 5 years old. It was then her family learned that Brooke’s best chance at a full and active life would be a heart transplant.
Brooke was added to the transplant list in April of 2000 and received her first heart transplant in November that year. The transplant helped Brooke regain her health for the first few years, but she was far too quickly facing congestive heart failure again. Her family moved into the hospital to help care for Brooke while she awaited her second heart transplant, which finally came in March of 2009.
Brooke will have to take anti-rejection medication daily for the rest of her life and get regular blood work to monitor her medication levels. She will also have regular heart biopsies and heart catheterizations to ensure Brooke and her new heart remain healthy.
Brooke’s mother, Michelle Homman, credits Brooke’s survival to the support of family and friends and lifesaving technology and medical procedures available to her because of research made possible through funding from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.
“Brooke’s journey from being born with a heart defect to surviving multiple heart surgeries and transplants has inspired my entire family to raise awareness about heart defects,” said Homman. “We wanted to join the Centre County Heart and Stroke Walk to bring attention to Brooke’s story and the experience of so many other survivors like her who have benefited from the research funded by the American Heart Association and Heart Walk teams like ours.”
Brooke and her family will participate in the 2013 Centre County Heart and Stroke Walk as part of the Brooke’s Brigade team, along with hundreds of other family, community and workplace teams, to increase heart disease and stroke awareness and to raise money to support lifesaving heart disease and stroke research. The fundraising goal for the 2013 Centre County Heart and Stroke Walk is $65,000. Walkers who raise a minimum of $100 will receive a Heart and Stroke Walk T-shirt and the opportunity to receive additional prizes based on their fundraising levels.
The Heart and Stroke Walk is a family and pet-friendly event featuring vendors, health information, team photos, kids’ activities and more. Companies, schools, community groups, survivor families and individuals are welcome to participate.
About Heart Walk
Each day, nearly 2,300 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease, an average of one death every 38 seconds. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s signature fundraising event, promoting physical activity and heart healthy living in a fun family environment. By promoting a healthy culture, everyone can walk toward a healthier lifestyle and fight the greatest health threat to the United States.
About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, it’s the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — it funds cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. For more information about the American Heart Association, visit www.heart.org.