Roscoe heart disease survivor helps kick-start annual Heart Walk fund-raiser

Roscoe resident Pam Phillips is alive today because she paid attention to the warning signs of heart disease.

Phillips, a former flight attendant, was always an avid runner, participating in various amateur and competitive running events. She had no idea she was born with a bicuspid valve.

Three years ago, she experienced heaviness on one side of her body, but ignored it and went on her usual morning run. Over the next few days, the pain intensified and moved under her breastbone. She visited a clinic to get a better understanding of what might be going on.

The clinic’s physician assistant determined it might be more serious than Phillips realized, and directed her to the emergency room. She went to the hospital and discovered she had an aortic aneurysm. She underwent open heart surgery, and had a valve replacement.

Phillips made a rapid recovery, and began running again six weeks later. Thirteen weeks following the surgery, she ran the Rockford Half Marathon.

Phillips feels fortunate her aneurysm was discovered in time, and urges others to listen to their bodies.

“Your body will tell you when something is wrong; it’s up to us to hear what it has to say,” said Phillips. “Don’t ignore any symptoms; if you don’t feel right, get it checked out before it’s too late.”

Phillips is just one of many Rockford-area residents with heart disease who have benefited from new strides in cardiovascular research. Events such as the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk help raise funds for heart disease and stroke research, education, training and advocacy. Phillips will help kick-off this year’s Rockford Start! Heart Walk at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 28, at Rock Valley College, 3301 N. Mulford Rd. Hundreds of Rockford-area residents will walk in support of leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Start! is the American Heart Association’s national campaign that encourages all Americans and their employers to live longer, stronger lives through a comprehensive walking and nutrition program. The campaign focuses on walking as an activity because it’s accessible, free and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise. Start! is nationally sponsored by SUBWAY®

Restaurants, Healthy Choice® and AstraZeneca®. Visit or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 to get all the tools and information you need to Start! walking and stay heart healthy.

from the April 25-May 2, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!