The 2012 Morris County Heart Walk is coming to Parsippany Oct. 14. That's the day hundreds of walkers are expected at the Mack-Cali Business Campus at 1 Campus Drive to gather for a 5K walk and run to raise funds for the battle against heart disease.
One of this year's participants is anything but ordinary.
Randy Shreve, a Morris Plains resident, plans to be among the participants. Six months ago, however, he was fighting for his life while in a coma in Morristown Medical Center’s critical care unit.
A long time barber and hair stylist at Ryan’s Clip Joint on Speedwell Avenue in Morris Plains, Shreve, 47, suffered a stroke and two subsequent heart failures on the night of March 12. He literally died from the trauma before being brought back, and was then given a less than 10 percent chance of survival.
“I honestly felt no symptoms,” he said. “I’ve always been very healthy."
A few weeks prior, he underwent rotator cuff surgery.
“The scary thing is that no one is 100 percent sure why this happened," said Shreve. "There is a possibility [there was] a blood clot after my shoulder surgery. But who cares—I am here!”
He almost wasn't. Shreve remained in a coma for 10 days. It was only when he woke up that he found out what he had endured.
A few surgeries and the implantation of a permanent chest defibrillator later, Shreve continues to get stronger every day. He recently returned to work at Ryan’s Clip Joint and continues rehabilitation therapy three days a week. But he said he needed to do something special to "give back" to the doctors, nurses, and physical therapists who helped him on the road to recovery.
His idea was to take part in this year's Heart Walk to raise funds for the cause.
“This walk will be a challenge for me, but I have to do this,” he said.
Shreve said he'd like his fellow Parsippany and Morris Plains residents to get involved by supporting his team for the Heart Walk.
According to the American Heart Association, the money donated to the effort goes a long way: A donation of $25 supplies 50 people with educational materials that teach them how to reduce their risk of heart diseases and stroke. A contribution of $50 delivers the message of healthy nutrition to elementary school students through lesson plans and activity guides. And $100 allows one hospital to teach its patients, caregivers, and health professionals about the risks of stroke, which is the nation's No. 4 killer.
Head to Shreve's page on the Morris County Heart Walk site if you'd like to donate. Or if you wish to walk or start your own team, you may register online or at the event.