Maui News

Participants to Walk With a Purpose at Maui Heart Walk

April 17, 2019, 10:21 AM HST
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Sheri Yamaguchi

When Sheri Yamaguchi participates in the Maui Heart Walk this Saturday, April 20, it will be with a personal purpose that few others share.

Yamaguchi survived a congenital heart disease and continues to fight familial high cholesterol by maintaining a regimen of daily physical activity.

“When I was 18 years-old I began experiencing heart palpitations,” Yamaguchi said. “In my 30s I was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia caused by bad cells in my heart that caused disruptions in my normal heart rhythm.”

To correct her palpitations, Yamaguchi had to have a procedure called an ablation in which a cardiologist guided a catheter into a blood vessel in her my leg and up to her heart. “Electrical signals then destroyed the problem heart cells and helped restore a regular heartbeat,” said Yamaguchi.

Despite that treatment, Yamaguchi also battles high cholesterol, a problem that both her mother and grandmother both had. She’s been able to control the problem and avoid medications by running 15 to 20 miles per week, something she couldn’t do before her ablation treatment.

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“My family has a history of heart problems,” Yamaguchi said.  Her dad had his aortic valve replaced, and her 18-year-old nephew, Caleb, was born with a congenital heart defect and died last May from complications of his condition.

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“I’m so grateful for the American Heart Association and its efforts to create a future where there are little to no heart defects. The AHA provides many resources, I refer to its web site often for information on taking care of myself. And the research that it funds has played a role in me being able to live a normal lifestyle. Every year, I walk in the Heart Walk to support the AHA. It’s a great cause because every part of your body is affected by the health of your heart,” said Yamaguchi.

Yamaguchi will be participating with the Maui Health System team at the Walk. She works there as the executive assistant to the company’s CEO Mike Rembis.

The Maui Heart Walk is designed to bring families and friends together to learn, share and practice lifestyle habits that will lead to healthier, longer lives free of heart disease and stroke. Participants are encouraged to raise money to support the AHA’s work to end heart disease and stroke and improve Maui resident’s health.

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The Heart Walk will take place at Keōpūolani Regional Park in Kahului and will feature a health fair that begins at 7 a.m. with free health screenings, “hands-only” CPR training, a keiki fun zone and live entertainment.

The 3.1-mile walk begins at 8 a.m. The walk is stroller and dog friendly.

Participants are also encouraged to bring a healthy food donation to benefit the Maui Food Bank’s clients, part of the AHA’s Kōkua The Need campaign to improve healthy eating throughout Hawaiʻi and end healthy food disparities.

Guidance on the recommended types of foods as well as additional event information can be found on the Maui Heart Walk’s registration website. Additional information is also available by calling the Maui Heart Walk Director Jenny Miller at (808) 426-0124.

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