As one of the nation’s first freestanding cardiology and cardiovascular hospitals, South Texas Health System Heart takes the Valley’s heart health to heart. In addition to helping save lives through the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, STHS Heart is committed to preventing heart issues through community education.
On Saturday, February 26, 2022, STHS Heart held its 8th annual Heroes with Heart 5K, aimed at encouraging Valley residents of all ages to get their hearts pumping while educating the community on ways to be heart smart. After being held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic, this year’s 5K returned to the STHS Heart campus and featured the participation of more than 300 runners/walkers and celebrated educators in the community who have survived and thrived with heart disease.
Following the race, STHS Heart leaders handed out first, second and third place trophies in various age categories to those who completed the course ahead of their competitors. During the program, this year’s Heroes with Heart STHS Heart Ambassadors shared their personal struggles with heart disease.
“In our Mexican culture we have this thing where we feel like we need to power through — we don’t want to go to the doctor for any “little” thing,” says Brenda Mata, a middle school teacher at Sgt. William Harrell Middle School in Mercedes who suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 36 back in 2007. “I’m lucky to have survived and recovered, so now I try to encourage others to listen to their bodies when it might be telling them that something is off.”
With heart disease as the number one cause of death for men and women in the U.S. — and especially high among Hispanic populations — STHS Heart encourages the RGV community to prioritize their heart health by maintaining an active lifestyle and nutritious diet, and managing stress.
“It’s a simple fact: embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age can prevent heart disease and lower your risk for a heart attack. The goal of our Heroes with Heart 5K is to remind everyone that you are never too old or too young to begin taking care of your heart,” says Brenda Ivory, Chief Executive Officer, STHS Heart. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Heroes with Heart 5K a tremendous success, and we’re especially grateful to our race ambassadors who have helped inspire the entire community to take great strides toward a healthier lifestyle.”
Proceeds from this year’s Heroes with Heart 5K will be turned over to the local nonprofit Stars Scholarship Fund, with more than $6,000 raised for scholarships for local students pursuing careers in healthcare.