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SUGAR HOUSE — The American Heart association is expecting at least 3,000 people to take part in the "My heart, My life" walk and run on Saturday at Sugar House Park.
This has been of particular interest to local Mark Walker, the chairman of the "Walk and Run" who recently had his own heart problems.
Walker is a former news reporter and is currently the vice president of marketing and media relations for Energy Solutions. He is in his mid-40's and is an active, healthy, sports lover.
But, on his way to work one afternoon Walker suddenly didn't feel so healthy.
"I was just walking along and all the sudden, I was just exhausted," Walker said. "I didn't feel like taking another step. I leaned up against a tree and thought, 'That's weird.'"
A check up with his doctor revealed that Walker had a quarter-sized hole in his heart. And an aneurism was threatening to endanger his life as well.
According to the American Heart Association, Heart Disease claims the lives of more people than the next three leading causes of death combined.
"You think, this should never happen to me," Walker said. "I've always tried to stay healthy. I've watched what I eat, I work out on a regular basis. It turns out I had this hole my whole life."
The discovery was a welcome blessing for Walker and he decided to start taking a more active role in the American Heart Association as a result.
"The last thing I would have thought is I have a heart problem," he said. "And the beautiful thing about discovering that is it was an easy fix. I can play with my kids, I can lift them up. It's made all the difference in the world. I'm grateful for the procedure and the difference it's made in my life."
The Heart walk and run will be held at Sugar House Park on Saturday. The 5k run will begin at 8:45 a.m. and the walk will start at 9:30 a.m.