Kelsey Muir and Jasmine Winning Sharing more than just a beautiful smile. The Santa Clarita locals are both heart warriors.
Born with a missing chamber in her heart, Kelsey grew up balancing checkups, hospital stays and multiple heart surgeries with life outside of heart disease – finishing college in four years and now working as a Heart Walk Development Director for the American Heart Association.
“I wear a badge of honor on my chest every day of my life,” said Kelsey. “It is a badge that has been opened, stitched, reopened, bandaged and paralyzed me for a few weeks at a time throughout my life. However, it’s the same badge that has been kissed every night by my mother growing up, given me another perspective of life, and has been my proudest accomplishment.”
Like Kelsey, soon to be 3-year-old Jasmine was born with half a heart, a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and heterotaxy, in which her internal organs are not where they should be. She has had two open-heart surgeries and will need a crucial third one next year.
“Doctors have said that Jasmine has a 33 percent chance of making it to age four and a 100 percent chance that she’ll need a heart transplant at some point in the future,” said Jasmine’s mom, Joanna Joshua. “I want to change that number, that is why our family and friends have been participating in the Heart Walk. We’re raising funds for research, with the hope of finding a cure that will give Jasmine the chance to live a long and healthy life.”
Join Jasmine, Kelsey and other community members at the Santa Clarita Heart Walk at Bridgeport Park on November 4. Festivities begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by a short program at 8:30 a.m., a 5K Walk around the park at 9 a.m. and a post-walk party at 9:30 a.m.
Form a team with family, friends and coworkers and together take steps to live healthier and fight heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer, and stroke, the leading cause of serious long-term disability. There is no fee to join, but participants are encouraged to help raise funds for the mission of building healthier lives, free of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. To register a team, visit www.HeartWalkLA.org.
“I’m proud to work for the AHA. The donations that we raise at the Heart Walk go back directly into our community through medical advances made possible by research funded by the AHA that has saved countless lives like mine and Jasmine’s, and in the form of programs that empower people to live healthier,” said Kelsey.
The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s Healthy for Good movement, which aims to rally people to live healthier lives, inspire lasting change and unite the community around the simple idea that making a small change today will create a difference for generations to come.
In addition to Santa Clarita, walks will take place in Pasadena (Sept. 23), Long Beach (Oct. 21) and Palmdale (Nov. 5). The goal is to raise $2.5 million at these events to support the association’s lifesaving work, including funding innovative scientific research, bringing health education programs to children and adults in the community, improving best practices for treating heart disease and stroke and advocating for policies that impact cardiovascular health.
The Heart Walk is led by this year’s chairman, Enrique Rodriguez, executive vice president and chief technical officer for AT&T Entertainment Group. It is supported by Healthy for Good sponsor Keck Medicine of USC, Life is Why sponsor Union Bank and presenting sponsors Google, Huntington Hospital, UCLA Health and Antelope Valley Hospital Stroke Program.
For more information on sponsorship, donations, and to join the Santa Clarita Heart Walk, visit www.HeartWalkLA.org, or contact Kelsey Muir at 818-267-7366 or [email protected].