Many benefit from local heart walks

Over $14,000 was raised for the American Heart Association by Nolan County residents, organizations and businesses in 2012, including money from the annual Nolan County Heart Walk. Money raised for the American Heart Association goes towards research about heart disease.One local man "walked the walk" at the Nolan County Heart Walk as he has been fighting heart disease for many years.Jim Petrie — affectionately known as "Poppa Bear" to children at Lang Aycock Child Care Center, which he owns with his wife, Mary — had his first heart attack 20 years ago, when he was 45 years old. He has had three heart attacks and has had an angioplasty, a quadruple bypass and has a defibrillator pacemaker implant as well.About a year ago, Petrie underwent a three-day testing period to make sure that all of his other vital organs are in good enough condition for him to qualify for a heart transplant. About 16 tests were conducted and Petrie was able to get on the heart transplant list. He has now been on the transplant list for about 11 months and expects to be on the list for at least another 15-18 months.Petrie says that for the last couple of years, he could not physically walk in the Heart Walk event, but thanks to advances in medicine — due in part to fundraisers for research such as he heart walk — he is now able to do so. Petrie currently has a catheter in his chest that gives him a shots of his heart medication every 44 seconds. "The medicine I am on was not available five years ago. The medicine will get me from here to my heart transplant," he said. "There is no doubt that I would not be here without it."Petrie says that he is grateful for volunteers and people who walk at the heart walk and contribute to the cause. "I'm the beneficiary of events like these all across the country. They allow a person like me to benefit from the research and make it possible for me to enjoy my life."