Heart patient touts run benefiting Heart Strides program
Being diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 33 clearly was not part of Holly Coleman’s life plan.
“That was devastating,” the High Point woman, now 41, recalls. “That was a very depressing time in my life. I thought I was going to die. Any little thing I did — taking a shower, the simplest of tasks — just took the breath out of me. I really thought I was dying.”
Coleman had just given birth to her second child — the birth, in fact, is what had precipitated her heart condition — and now she didn’t even have the strength to care for her newborn daughter.
“I was just really weak,” Coleman says. “I had to have someone take care of me when I came home from the hospital. I had to have around-the-clock care for about five months.”
All of which makes Coleman’s plans for this coming weekend that much more amazing. On Saturday, she and her two daughters — 10-year-old Hailey and 7-year-old Kendall — will run in the 27th annual Warren Rives 5K Run/Walk.
Ironically, the Rives run benefits Heart Strides, the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program at High Point Regional Health System — the very program that helped Coleman begin to regain her strength after her frightening diagnosis seven years ago.
“Heart Strides helped me because I was really weak and lethargic all the time,” Coleman says. “It seemed to boost my energy, and it just gave me hope more than anything. The staff is just so wonderful and so supportive.”
Established in 1985, Heart Strides assists more than 300 patients a year. According to program statistics, 85 percent of participants complete the program, and 40 percent continue into the maintenance phase of the program.
More importantly, the program works. Industry statistics show a significant reduction — anywhere from 20 to 50 percent — in recurrences and health-care costs for patients completing cardiac or pulmonary rehab versus those without rehabilitation.
The program certainly put Coleman on the path to recovery, she says.
“I’m very active now,” she says. “I exercise every single day — I usually go to the gym, and then I run two to three times a week, typically three to five miles each day. I still have some bad days, but it doesn’t happen too often.”
Coleman and her daughters actually ran in last year’s Rives run, without even knowing of its connection to the Heart Strides program.
“When I realized it funded Heart Strides, I started crying — I was just so overjoyed,” she says. “And since then, I’ve just made it a mini mission of mine to get people in the community involved in this event. It’s such an awesome event, and it means so much to this community.”
The event was named after Warren J. Rives, a well-known community leader who died of heart disease at age 41. Proceeds from the race go to the Heart Strides Scholarship Fund, paying program costs for participants who would not be able to afford it otherwise.
“I was a recipient of that,” Coleman explains, “so this is something I’m passionate about. I want to do whatever I can to help.”
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The 27th annual Warren Rives 5K Run/Walk and Fun Run will be held Saturday, beginning at High Point Regional Hospital, 601 N. Elm St.
The Fun Run will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K at 8:30 a.m.
The entry fee is $5 for the Fun Run, $25 for the 5K.
All proceeds will go to Heart Strides, the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program at High Point Regional.
To register or for further information, call 878-6293 or visit www.highpointregional.com/rivesrace or www.facebook.com/rivesrace.