It's tough to believe Pam Phillips is just a few years shy of turning 50. And as an active runner and athlete, it was tough for her to believe she needed open-heart surgery.
"It was quite a shock it was a surprise to find out I had an aneurysm and that we caught it," she says.
Phillips says back in 2004, she noticed one side of her body felt heavy. So she had to put her workout on hold so doctors could mend her heart. Then, just 13-weeks later, she laced up her gym shoes and competed in the Rockford Marathon. That's why her husband Bob calls her a hero.
"Just the fact she sprung back as quickly as she did I think was a tribute to the fact she'd been healthy all her life," says husband Bob Phillips.
About 15-hundred Stateline walkers paraded the Rock Valley College campus to raise awareness of heart disease. Which is a leading killer in our area.
"Here in Winnebago County alone it accounts of 36-percent of all deaths," says Event Director Heather Cobra.
Many walkers wore red or white hats representing heart disease and stroke survivors. While others wore the names of loved ones, who've lost the battle with the nations number one killer.
Nearly one-hundred thousand dollars were raised during today's walk. The money will go towards research and programs for the American Heart Association in the Rockford Area.