TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Heart Walk draws crowd

Daily Photo Galleries

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Tom Broadwater, this year's Fayette County Heart Walk spokesperson, was diagnosed with heart disease several weeks before his son died of cancer.

Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh told Broadwater he needed a pacemaker and bypass surgery to save his life.

Broadwater told the doctors he couldn't undergo the surgery because his son was dying of cancer. Doctors did surgery to implant a pacemaker in his heart and sent him home to spend the final days with his dying son.

“My son died one week and one day after I came home from the hospital,” he said as his eyes filled with tears. “My son is now in heaven with the angels.

“After my son died, I went to the hospital to have the surgery. It was very difficult, but I made it through the surgery and the recovery. I actually had one foot in the grave. But I'm alive today because of the American Heart Association and all of you.”

Broadwater addressed the crowd just minutes before the 22nd annual Heart Walk began on Saturday morning at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, in North Union.

Tricia Desvarro, the Fayette County Division director for the American Heart Association, said she expected an estimated 300 people to participate in the fundraising event. This year's goal was to raise $65,000.

“It's a beautiful day for the Heart Walk,” Desvarro told the crowd. “It isn't raining. The weather hasn't been this nice in years. We're hoping that the nice weather brings more people out.”

Desvarro said money raised at the event will be used to fund medical research and education.

“As you know, this event is very important to help raise lifesaving funds for the American Heart Association,” she said. “This Heart Walk and the other heart walks that are taking place locally and nationally are a great opportunity for us to promote health and wellness throughout the community and to raise funds to combat the number one health issue among families, friends and co-workers.”

Desvarro said she has been involved with the American Heart Association for the past 17 years.

“Each year we are so thankful for the outpouring of support from our Fayette County residents,” she said. “I am happy that so many of you also understand the importance of helping the American Heart Association to continue heart research and education.”

Ed Francyzk, president of United Bank and his wife, Judy, served as this year's chairman and co-chairman for the event.

Francyzk said he decided to become involved in the Heart Walk because his mother died of heart disease when she was 60. The disease also claimed the lives of his mother-in-law and grandmother. His cousin's baby underwent surgery to repair a hole in her heart when she was only 2 months old.

“When I was asked to serve as this year's chairman, I thought it was time for Judy and I to give back to the American Heart Association and the community,” Francyzk said.

Francyzk will pass the leadership role to Ed Balling of Fairchance, who will serve as the chairman of the 2014 Fayette County Heart Walk.

Desvarro introduced 2-year-old Shoby Fronczek and her parents, Jason and Trish, to the crowd. Jason and Trish are Laurel Highlands High School graduates who now live in the Pittsburgh area.

“We found out the day she was born that Shoby had a hole in her heart,” Jason Fronczek said. “Doctors did the surgery to repair her heart when she was only 2 months old. We've been told that our daughter is going to live a full, healthy life.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Fayette

  1. Connellsville considers axing paid firefighters
  2. Connellsville area poverty simulation opens people’s eyes
  3. 3 men to stand trial over runaway Latrobe foster children
  4. Albert Gallatin bus driver pleads guilty to sexual assault
  5. Longtime Connellsville area business closes its doors
  6. Fayette Friends of Animals volunteer uses talent to help get her shelter animals adopted
  7. Connellsville Health Board airs ordinance issues
  8. Connellsville man held for court in robbery at Gibson Terrace
  9. Residents plan town-hall style meeting on Connellsville’s proposed abandoned building ordinance
  10. Security tightened at Fayette courthouse; Westmoreland says its procedures are sufficient
  11. Fayette County Fair up and running
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.