How many times have you heard that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in America? This isn’t a secret. I’ve heard this statistic more times than I can remember, but that’s all it was…a statistic! In my mind, my family seemed to be the picture of health. We were active, ate a healthy diet (most of the time), and to our knowledge had no family medical history to be concerned about.

I knew the statistic about heart disease was important, but it wasn’t relevant to me…….until it was.  On April 3, 2015, that statistic was staring me in the face.  It was Good Friday, and my husband, Britton and I planned to meet up to do Easter shopping for our two sons, who were 4 and 6 months old at the time.  Britton never showed up to meet me because while on his way, he passed out behind the wheel and was involved in a serious car accident just outside of the store. We learned that this was caused by a major cardiac event, which later led to the discovery of a genetic heart condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy or ARVC.

Oh, how I have grown to despise that acronym over the past two years! Britton, at the age of 35, received an ICD, which is an implanted defibrillator/pacemaker at Washington Regional Medical Center and was quickly referred to a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Because ARVC is an inherited disease, we are going through the long process of DNA and genetic testing for our boys and other family members. By all accounts, it’s a miracle that Britton survived that day two years ago and words cannot express how thankful I am, but as a family, we are still in the early stages of figuring out this disease and the lasting effects it will have.

IMG_8494Britton and my sons, Ross and Charlie are the reasons I will be participating in the Northwest Arkansas Heart Walk on Saturday, April 8. I am so thankful for the American Heart Association and the research and education that they support. This year the walk will take place in Rogers and the festivities will begin at 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Unilever/Kimberly-Clark Building (adjacent to the Walmart AMP). The walk will begin at 9:00 a.m. and is free for all participants. This is a great event for the whole family. There will be refreshments, health screenings, activities for the kids and some amazing sponsor booths!

If you would like to support the FNBNWA Team in reaching their fundraising goal for the NWA Heart Walk, please click here.

Wheeler Holly Headshot_cropHolly Wheeler is a Vice President and Private Banking officer for First National Bank of NWA She has 14 years of banking experience in the NWA market. She obtained her bachelors degree from the University of Arkansas and is an Honor’s Graduate from the Arkansas Bankers Association’s School of Lending. She is a Sustaining member and past board member of the Junior League of NWA, as well as the treasurer for both the NWA Delta Delta Delta Alumni Association and Housing Corporation. She is the proud mom to her sons Ross and Charlie and wife to her husband Britton.

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