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Local family to participate in 2016 Phoenix Heart Walk

3/16/16

PHOENIX – Cave Creek resident Shannon Dumar and her son Matthew Martin-Hoyland will join thousands of walkers on Saturday, March 19 for the American Heart Association’s 2016 Phoenix Heart Walk in downtown Phoenix. They will walk to celebrate Matthew’s life and show support for the many heart-related diseases in need of a cure.

Matthew looks like any regular 11-year-old boy today, but when he was born, doctors didn’t know if he would survive. Moments after his birth, Matthew’s heart rate skyrocketed to more than 250 beats per minute, forcing doctors to rush him to Banner Desert Medical Center for emergency treatment.

“It was scary for the first couple days because I was at one hospital recovering from a C-section and he was at a completely different hospital fighting for his life,” Dumar said.

Matthew pulled through and was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia caused by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a disorder which causes problems with the electrical systems of the heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, about four out of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with this condition. Shannon and her family soon settled into a routine which involved a rigorous schedule of lifesaving medication, and Matthew thrived.

Along with Shannon, an APS Customer Care Center manager, and her family, more than 100 APS employees will also participate in the walk. APS has been a sponsor of the Phoenix Heart Walk and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon since 1999. APS gives $20,000 every year to the cause and more than 100 employees turn out annually to walk.

“It makes me feel like I’m one of the lucky ones and people are here supporting me and my family,” Matthew said.

Dumar calls the amount of support she receives from her APS family and her own family “phenomenal.”

“You have that sense of pride that ‘Hey, I just did something really good!’ and you feel that sense of accomplishment knowing we did it as a family,” Dumar said. “When you experience this support from so many people, it’s overwhelming on such a great level.”

The Heart Walk celebrates those who have made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising the dollars needed to fund life-saving research and initiatives in the community. For more information, visit phoenixheartwalk.kintera.org.