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Features Health & Wellness Third annual Macon Your Heart Beat 5K set for April 6

Angel Medical Center’s annual Macon your Heart Beat 5K is scheduled for April 6. The fundraiser provides funding for the hospital’s cardiac rehab program.Proceeds benefit AMC cardiac rehabilitation program.

Angel Medical Center's (AMC) third annual “Macon Your Heart Beat” 5K walk/run event is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, and will have an extra event this year. An 8K (5 miles) walk/run option will be added to the one mile fun run and 5K (3.1 miles) race that have been held in the past. Registration for the all events will kick off at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.

All proceeds from the annual fundraiser will go to support Angel Medical’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. For years, the program has allowed patients to properly recuperate from treatment, which according to AMC’s director of media relations Bonnie Peggs, is rarely fully covered by insurance plans.

“Insurance usually covers six to eight rehab sessions, and we recommend at least 10 in order to properly recover,” said Peggs. “The scholarship program allows patients to receive additional sessions and to recover fully.”

The benefits of Cardiac or Pulmonary Rehabilitation are not always available to everyone because of financial issues. In most cases potential patients already have amassed a very large bill that began the day they learn they have heart or lung disease. These expenses can be staggering.

Rehabilitation is recognized as a valuable adjunct to physicians' arsenal of medical treatment and therapy. Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation have proven to speed recovery, increase quality of life and reduce many of the risk factors for future medical problems and hospitalizations. But, it is an additional expense.

Each year the program helps to save the lives of people in the Franklin community. Franklin resident Steve Murphy is a perfect example of the benefit the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program can have for heart attack patients.

In November 2011, Murphy, 66, had a friend take him to AMC's emergency room becuse he wasn't feeling well. Although Murphy has reported no pain after an initial EKG, shortly thereafter he went into a ventricular tachycardiac rhythm, or heart attack. Over the next hour and a half, Murphy crashed a total of six times, having to be brought back to life each time.

“There is a period of about 10 days that I don't remember, so I rely on the medical records to know what happened,” said Murphy. “I know if I had gotten to the hospital 5- 10 minutes different, I would not have made it and wouldn't be here today. I thank the Lord for that everyday.”

After being put on the stretcher to be flown to Mission Hospital in Asheville, Murphy had the sixth heart attack and paramedics spend 20 minutes giving him CPR and shocking him before he woke back up and transported via the MAMA helicopter.

In addition to not having any chest pain when first arriving to AMC, Murphy had no history of heart disease, and had quit smoking 30 years prior.

“I spent 14 days in ICU in Asheville, and when I was stable enough, I has a full bypass surgery on my heart,” said Murphy. “After four weeks in Asheville, I was sent back to Franklin and was ordered three weeks of rehabilitation through AMC's Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program.”

According to Murphy, the rehabilitation program has helped to not only gain back his strength, but has taught him how to live a better lifestyle that will prevent any future heart problems. “The program has definitely helped me,” said Murphy. “When I first came home, I thought some exercise on my own would help, but the program taught me that it was not nearly enough and I needed to work hard to build back the strength in my heart.”

Murphy said that after becoming a patient of AMC's cardiac rehab program, he began a daily workout routine that pushed him on the treadmill and other equipment enough to where each day he would start to feel a little stronger.

“It is not just an exercise program,” he said. “It is a complete program. They has dietitians and other doctors come talk to us on a regular basis to teach us healthier ways to live and how to better take care of ourselves. If we ever had any questions, there was always a doctor who would explain things to us and help us best understand what happened to us and how to cope with it throughout the rest of our lives.”

Murphy raved about the AMC team, from the ER to the people running the cardiac program. “I met some of the most wonderful people,” said Murphy. “Since my heart attack, I have had the privilege of meeting several doctors and nurses who saved my life that day. I have never gotten the sense that it is just a job to them, but instead I know that they are there working because they truly care about people and want to help people.”

The Macon Your Heart Beat fundraiser provides crucial funds to community members that might not otherwise be able to afford the rehabilitation program.

“The fundraiser is to help people who don't have insurance or their insurance coverage doesn't cover the rehabilitation,” said Murphy. “I know from firsthand experience that I could not have fully recovered without the help of the program. You always pray that it doesn't happen to you, but when it does, it is a tragedy. I am grateful that the program was here for me, and hope that it continues to receive the support needed to offer these services to those in need for years to come.”

Register online at (“Macon Your Heart Beat”) through April 1. Race day registration will open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6.

Entry Fees: 1 Mile: $25, after April 1, $35; 5K (3.1 miles) $30, after April 1, $40; 8K (5 miles) $30, after April 1, $40.

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