Neil’s Walk namesake motivates family and region to keep a healthy heart
Like every fifth of the month, we are Living Red at WCYB. It's our partnership with Wellmont Health System to bring you the facts about women's heart disease.
This month, News 5 learned the inspiration behind Fun Fest's Neil's Walk and how one man's legacy is helping the heart health of women in our region.
A scrapbook brings beautiful, yet painful memories to Myra Danehy.
Her husband, Neil Danehy, died seven years ago of a sudden heart attack just after his 50th birthday.
"He always really took care of himself, and he was very involved in sports and stuff like that. So I think his death was just such a shock to the community, because people just thought if it could happen to Neil Danehy, it could happen to me," said Myra Danehy.
For Danehy, she worries it could even happen to her. That's why even just weeks after Neil's death, she had her first calcium score test, and now she is adamant about keeping a heart healthy diet.
"I really pay attention to everything I put in my mouth. I don't eat a lot of fat. I don't eat very much red meat at all," Danehy said.
Her daughter, Leslie Danehy Webb, is now aware she has a family history of heart disease, and she has changed her life, too.
"I would go to the gym and things like that, but now after he's passed it's like I definitely want to keep myself as healthy as I can," Webb told News 5.
We found out Myra and her daughters stay active; another key in reducing your risk factors for heart disease.
"The heart is just a muscle. Like any other muscle in your body you exercise, the heart gets stronger, and it works more efficiently," said Dr. Jonathan Burress, a cardiologist with Wellmont Health System.
But keeping the Danehy hearts healthy isn't Neil's only legacy. The Neil’s Walk you see before the Crazy 8's 8K run serves as a fundraiser to help hearts across our region.
The Neil Danehy Heart Foundation helped to provide an AED at the Lynn View Senior Center branch site, among many others, in hopes of saving lives in his memory. They also help pay for CPR classes, and heart monitors for local schools.
Saving lives is how Myra wants to continue her husband's legacy, whether it be a stranger helped by the foundation or even her own. "I had to keep myself healthy for my daughters, and it's that just a big part of it," she said.
We have facts for you if you want to be a part of the Neil's Walk this year.
It's a 3K walk starting outside J. Fred Johnson stadium on July 14.
You can register online by clicking here.
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