Life can change in a moments notice. You are here one day, and gone the next. For one Long Island family, tragedy struck on a quiet January night, when a loving husband and dedicated father died of a heart attack. A man who had just had a physical and was given a clean bill of health, passed away without any warning signs. John Gallucci was only 55 when his life was cut short. An autopsy revealed that it was due to heart disease and artery disease. Heart disease has not only affected this family, but has impacted the lives of many people.
Heart Disease has caused 25 percent of deaths in the United States and most cases have gone undetected. The American Heart Association has stated that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer amongst Americans every year. According to its website, every 38 seconds someone dies from cardiovascular disease. With these statistics in mind, it is clear that heart disease is a major concern in America today. Too many people have problems with their heart and risk death because they do not even know it or there is nothing that can be done.
Someone you know may be at risk, so the American Heart Association, along with many others, are fighting this concern each and every day. They do this by letting people know about heart disease, improving care given to people with heart disease, protecting people and warning them if they are at risk, and encouraging people to live healthier lives.
One way that the American Heart Association raises money for research and education to help stop heart disease is through their Heart Walks, which are run across the entire United States. The walks persuade people to get out and get exercise, while raising money to help remove heart disease and stroke from people’s lives. On Long Island, the walk usually takes place in September at Jones Beach. Teams are put together by loved ones, people who care, and companies. Once a team is started, fundraising is done and people can join in on the walk or donate money. They walk to create hope, inspire change, and celebrate success.
Despite their loss, the Gallucci family was inspired to spread the message and raise money for the cause close to their own hearts. They created a team, Team John, and have now decided, as a family, to do this as an annual walk in honor of their father each year. They want to help others. During an interview over lunch with the leader of the team, Michelle Gallucci, she explained why they are involved with the walk. She stated: “It was such a shocking feeling on that January night and I thought to myself, how can I prevent this from happening to another person? My family just jumped in and helped out with everything from fundraising, stuffing envelopes, and most importantly, spreading the word.”
Gallucci explained how news of their team and the walk even spread to the local town paper, the East Meadow Herald. The family and their friends have said that doing the walk makes them feel good and helps them to remember their father. They want to make people aware and help change lives. “In the first year, our team raised nearly 4,000 dollars,” said Gallucci. “The goal for the second walk, which is September 23, 2012, at Jones Beach, is to double that amount.” Michelle Gallucci and her family have big plans for the 2nd Annual Team John walk. This family is well on their way to helping others learn more about heart disease and making sure that people will not have to lose their loved ones due to this silent disease.
For more information about how to get involved, go to the American Heart Association website at americanheart.org and find a Heart Walk near you.