Two local teens to honored at Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk

Gabrielle Miccio and Liam Roddy

The American Heart Association will honor two local heart disease survivors at the annual Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk, set for Saturday, April 13 at Dutchess Community College — a new location this year. Registration is open for the Heart Walk at www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org.

Gabrielle Miccio, 19, of Poughkeepsie and Liam Roddy, 16, of Rosendale, will be recognized as “Faces of Heart” Honorees at the Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk for sharing their stories to help raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease.

On the way to preschool in 2007, when Liam was four years old, he told his mother that his throat hurt him. Then he said he “had a pain in his heart.” He collapsed in the car moments later. Thankfully, CPR was performed by nearby doctors to save his life. Liam was eventually diagnosed with rheumatic fever, resulting in a heart murmur and an abnormal heart valve flap click and scarring, which affected the normal function of his heart. Rheumatic fever is a rare complication of untreated strep throat which can lead to heart tissue inflammation, valve scarring and congestive heart failure.

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Liam’s family feels blessed to have the expertise and support of the American Heart Association. They say they understand, firsthand, how CPR saves lives.

Gabrielle was diagnosed with Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia (IST) —an unexplainable rapid heart rate—when she was 15 years old. Through doctor visits, heart monitoring, electrophysiology study, trips to the ER, EKGs, and more tests, Gabby received two cardiac ablations to stop the rapid heart rate.

Although, Gabby’s resting heart rate is now in the normal range — she still experiences random episodes of increased heart rate or arrhythmia. Gabby continues to manage her IST; there is no cure.

Teams and individuals can sign up and get more information at www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org or by contacting the American Heart Association’s Danielle Schuka at 845-867-5379 or by email at Danielle.schuka@heart.org. Get CPR training information at www.heart.org/handsonlycpr.

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