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Parkersburg heart walk slated for Saturday

More than 200 members of the community walk laps around the Parkersburg City Park during the 2019 heart walk in City Park. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — The word “congenital” means existing at birth.

While not all heart problems in the world are congenital, these defects do exist. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, over 1.3 million Americans alive today have some form of congenital heart defect.

In the United States, about 40,000 children are born with a heart defect each year. At least eight of every 1,000 infants born each year have a heart defect.

The Mid-Ohio Valley and all of West Virginia are taking this week to raise awareness about not only congenital heart defects, but heart disease and strokes as well.

Members of the community have come together to organize an in-person — but socially distanced with masks — heart walk in honor of the Harlow family’s daughter, Jillian Harlow.

Harlow, 4, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at birth, meaning her left ventricle is under developed. She is not a candidate for a transplant or a fontan procedure, due to other accompanying diagnosis. The fontan redirects blood flow from the lower body into the lungs, and is a common procedure for people who have only one working ventricle.

The walk will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at City Park.

Because of COVID-19, many state and national heart walks have been canceled or moved to a digital platform. The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association has been moved to a digital platform.

This walk started Thursday, West Virginia’s Statewide Day of Walking, but is continuing through the weekend. People can go online to donate to the American Heart Association or share a photo of themselves walking on Facebook with the #midohiovalleyheartwalk.

Those interested can text to donate any time by texting MIDOHVALLEYHW to 41444.

Madeline Scarboroough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

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