Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 11:34 pm | Fair 67º


5-Year-Old Among Participants of Santa Barbara Heart Walk

Heart disease and stroke continue to be the No. 1 and No. 3 killers in America. Despite the American Heart Association’s track record in funding groundbreaking medical research that has saved countless lives, each year hundreds of deserving projects are not funded due to lack of financial resources.

From 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 27 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, hundreds of Santa Barbara residents will come together for the 17th annual Start! Santa Barbara Heart Walk not only to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke, but also to help save lives by raising funds for cardiovascular research. 

Among the participants this year is 5-year-old Ella Wilson and her family. Ella had a stroke when she was in her mother’s womb and was delivered two weeks early when a doctor detected fluid on her brain.

Doctors predicted that Ella wouldn’t make it and if she did, she would be paralyzed, mentally disabled or be in a vegetative state. Ella defied the odds and is now an intelligent, social and active 5-year-old who has learned to talk well, read above grade-level and play the piano. But the stroke impaired her vision, mobility and manual competence. In fact, she has just taken her first steps.

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Kristine Mosqueda-Kelly is communications director for the American Heart Association.

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