Two-year-old heart defect survivor to lead 2013 Berks County Heart & Stroke Walk

Submitted photo Collins Chrusch will lead the 2013 Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk on Oct. 20.

Collins Chrusch, 2-years-old of Reading, will represent all local heart disease and stroke survivors as the Child Chair for the 2013 Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk on Sunday, Oct. 20. The annual walk to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention and raise funds for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Blue Marsh Lake, 1268 Palisades Dr., Leesport.

When Monica Chrusch was pregnant with Collins at 22 weeks, doctors found a small “echo” on her heart during a routine ultrasound. After Collins was born she immediately received an EKG, which confirmed that she had a congenital heart defect called an Ostium Secundum Atrial Septal Defect. Despite having a congenital heart defect and visiting with a cardiologist regularly, Collins is living a normal, healthy childhood.

“Collins’s journey from being born with a heart defect to thriving today has inspired my entire family to raise awareness about heart defects and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Monica Chrusch. “We wanted to join the Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk because we believe that the research funded by the American Heart Association will only continue to improve the lives of children born with congenital heart defects, like Collins.”

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Collins Chrusch and her family will participate in the 2013 Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk, along with hundreds of other family, community and workplace teams, to increase heart disease and stroke awareness and raise money to support lifesaving heart disease and stroke research. The fundraising goal for the 2013 Berks County Heart and Stroke Walk is $60,000. 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. For more information about the event or to register, visit www.heart.org/lehighberkswalk or contact Kathleen Marano at 614-396-3503 or kathleen.marano@heart.org.

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 towards a healthier lifestyle and fight the greatest health threat to the United States.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, we are 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 — we fund 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.