The 2014 Central Ohio Heart Walk
At his one-month-old checkup appointment, Austin Light was diagnosed with severe aortic valve stenosis and insufficiency (AVS). Austin had three days to live unless a surgeon could operate immediately. Even then, the surgeon had a 2% chance of entering the aortic valve without puncturing Austin’s heart. Against all odds, the operation was successful and Austin’s life was saved.
Austin will turn 12 in July. AVS usually requires patients to undergo additional surgeries as they grow older—Austin’s heart was expected to grow at a stunted rate, which would likely increase the inefficiency of his aortic valve. But life doesn’t always go as expected. In 11 years, Austin has only needed one operation. Despite his 2% chance of surviving, that one operation truly saved his life.
Since the operation, Austin’s parents, Jessie and Jenni Light have researched their family health history and have found a pattern of cardiovascular disease that spanned several premature heart attacks and one infant death from AVS. Today, the Lights adamantly encourage others to look for patterns of heart disease in their own family histories and to support cardiovascular research through the Heart Walk.
“If we would have known that AVS is prominent in our family history, we might have caught Austin’s disease earlier,” Jenni said. “There is still so much research to be done and so much education to spread. That is why we walk—to help fund valuable research, education and advocacy efforts of the American Heart Association.”
The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation's No.1 and No.4 killers, claim more than 813,804 American lives a year. Thanks to all our walkers, donors and volunteers who have accepted the challenge to help fight heart disease and stroke. We cannot achieve our mission without each one of you!