NYSUT President Karen E. Magee is chairperson of the 2016 Capital Region Heart Walk.
My dad was 37 years old when he had his first heart attack.
We actually lost him more than once that night.
The doctors at White Plains Hospital did yeoman's work bringing him back to us, more than once with the assistance of defibrillators; for many years after that, whenever Dad took his shirt off, the paddle-shaped burns on his chest were a stark reminder of how close I had come to saying goodbye to him, an event no teenager should ever have to endure.
Three years ago, he finally succumbed to heart failure at the age of 72. The efforts of those amazing doctors bought him an additional three and a half decades, filled with life, love and grandchildren. My dad didn't quite live long enough to see me sworn in as president of NYSUT, but there isn't a day that goes by when I don't feel the strength of his love and guidance.
So for me, as for so many of you, the work of the American Heart Association is intensely personal. I look at the facts—that one out of every three people will suffer the effects of heart disease at some point in our lives—and I consider that, in my organization alone, that puts more than 200,000 people at risk. I can't sit by and let that remain a fact for any longer than it has to.
Please join me in support of the 2016 Capital District Heart Walk. 625,000 members of the New York State United Teachers is why.
My dad is why.
You are why.