CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- All walks of life descended on Charleston Saturday for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.
Hundreds gathered to send a strong message about the nation's number one killer: “anyone with heart disease- don't give up,” said DeAnn Bell.
Bell tells WSAZ.com her 13-year-old son Tyler was born with heart defects. Tyler has undergone several surgeries as a result of his condition, experiencing his first surgery when he was five days old.
“It's hard," Bell said. "That's when you pull together and make it or you fall apart."
It's a challenge many who gathered Saturday shared. People like Holly Ingram and her 10-month-old son Brantley.
“At six-weeks-old he had open heart surgery,” Ingram said.
Since Brantley’s surgery, he still has to take medicine three times a day and visit the doctor monthly, but Ingram said she's comforted by the magnitude of the Heart Walk.
“It's wonderful because every family needs that support,” Ingram added.
Organizers of the walk tell WSAZ.com it's that support that attracts walkers year after year and stories like Bell’s that has others taking heart that they too can stomp out the disease.
“We were here when [Tyler] was three, “Ingram said, “He's not three, he's a teenager, he's a surviving teenager.”
As of Saturday night, the Charleston Heart Walk raised nearly $95,000 for the American Heart Association.