I'm running to prove to myself that I still can, and to encourage others to get out and be active!

Eight years ago I was told I had about a year to live unless I had heart surgery, not something the average 32 year old expects to hear. Thanks to some amazing doctors and incredible technology I now have a titanium aortic valve that ticks so loud I sometimes have trouble sleeping. While this ticking might seem bothersome at times, the reality for me is that it is a reminder of how important every second is. After having completed both the Black Mountain Marathon and the Mt. Mitchell Challenge before my surgery, this year I have decided to run once again. But running this time seems different. I was shocked to see that of the millions of dollars that was raised for Mission Foundation, the non-profit foundation for the local hospital system here in WNC, less than $10,000 was given in support of education and awareness programs for this area. After talking with my friend Grayson Deal, himself a runner with a history of heart related issues, we decided to work on changing this. Our message is simple: Exercise is one of the best ways a person can take care of their heart, and you don't have to run a marathon. Just take a walk! If we can run this race, then almost anyone can get out and be active for 20-30 minutes a day! So through the WNC HEART CHALLENGE we hope to not only CELEBRATE LIFE by running a challenging race in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, we hope to help EDUCATE and MOTIVATE folks to get out and BE ACTIVE!

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