Thousands participate in walk to fight heart disease

LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) -- Nearly 5,000 people gathered at Keeneland Saturday for the annual Central Kentucky Heart Walk. The event raises money and awareness for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Amanda Simpson walked with her 10-year-old daughter. Both are survivors are heart disease.

"Six weeks after she was born, I had to have a heart transplant. I was on a balloon pump," said Simpson.

When Simpson was pregnant, doctors told her that her daughter had a heart defect. Experiencing unprecedented health problems of her own, Simpson decided to change her life to be an example for her daughter. She now does cardio at least 30 minutes a day.

"My sole motivation was my daughter. She is my motivation everyday," said Simpson.

Belinda Kornack, who participated in the walk, also incorporates exercise into her daily life.

"About 10 years ago, I was watching a Packers game and started having some heart issues," said Kornack.
"I went to the emergency room and found out I had a third-level heat block, which earned me a pacemaker."

Although Simpson and Kornack walked as survivors, others walked in memory of loved ones.

Annette Dence lost two sisters to heart attacks. She explained she participated in the walk to raise money for research and also for the exercise.

"It's important that your are aware and that you are paying attention to what's going on with your body," said Dence.

Donations towards the Central Kentucky Heart Walk exceeded the fundraising goal of $400,000. The proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association, which funds heart disease research and heart health programs.