Organizations: Cardiac center, Downtown Dash and St. Patrick's Day

Five heart attack survivors were honored for success at maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the King and Queen of Hearts event sponsored by the Glendale Memorial Heart Center at Glendale Memorial Hospital Thursday.

Crowned for their dedication to the program and mentoring new patients were Michael James of Glendale, Rita Khatchatourian of Glendale, Karl Kniseley of Glendale, Connie Andonegui of Sun Valley and Bill Tharp of La Crescenta.

Tharp shared his experience at the heart center with the more than 50 patients, family, friends and the public listening in the hospital’s auditorium.

“I’m not the man I used to be,” he said. “I weighed 272. Now I weigh 213.”

His goal is to get to 195, and he continues to work at it at the fitness center, walking the treadmill, lifting weights and riding the stationary bicycle, he said.

The Hearts event celebrates their hard work, said Dr. Lawrence R. O’Connor, medical director of the Cardiac Fitness Center.

“All of these people have come close to death and have been turned away from that event by medical intervention including coronary stints and coronary bypass,” O’Connor said. “This program is designed to help them prevent a second coronary event.”

Prior to the coronation, guests participated in screenings for weight, blood flow and diabetes at a health fair, said Michelle L. Alan Galanti, manager of Cardiac Fitness & Non-Invasive Cardiology.

“This event shows the community where they can go for treatment and honors people who have been participating in the cardiac fitness maintenance program for years,” she said.

Veterans of the program serve as mentors for those who have recently had heart problems, Galanti added.

“The newer patients are scared just having been through a traumatic event and they are being told by health professionals to eat right and exercise, and they aren’t quite sure how to do that,” she said. “But when they hear it from mentors, they see that it works, and they are living examples of the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation, which is exercise and dietary management.”

Warm-up event heralds Downtown Dash

A stroke victim shared her achievements over the last year during the Glendale News-Press Downtown Dash VIP Reception on Thursday at the Alex Theatre.

“I’m a walking miracle,” Elise Murray told those assembled in the theater lobby. “I can do 50 sit-ups and 50 basketball shots, and I became a grandmother!”

“She was in a wheelchair a year ago,” said mistress of ceremonies Susanne Whatley, co-host of “Healthline,” a health show on Charter Cable channel 380 at 7 p.m. every Tuesday night.

The Downtown Dash is March 13, and registration begins at 7 a.m. in the 200 block of Brand Boulevard.

The 5K starts in Downtown Glendale in front of the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd. There will be a kiddie mile fun run and a Youth Run for those under 13.

Glendale Adventist teams up with the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn. in this 5K run/walk down to the Americana at Brand and back to the Alex Theatre. All the proceeds support the Glendale Adventist Medical Center Stroke Services for the community, including lectures, screenings and new technology.

Burbank Civitan has St. Patrick’s Day brunch

The Burbank Civitan Club will have its 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day Champagne Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 13 at the Castaway Restaurant, 1250 E. Harvard Road, Burbank.

A buffet brunch, including corned beef and cabbage, will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The entertainment will be provided by the young Dancers from the O’Connor School of Irish Dance, and Music For Dancing.

There will also be door prizes and a silent auction to raise funds for the club’s many projects. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 years and under, and may be purchased by calling Elaine, at (818) 845-6851, or any Burbank Civitan Club member. Gifts for the silent auction are welcome.

Proceeds from the event support the B.C.R. “A Place To Grow,” the annual Baseball Jamboree, which includes hundreds of young Hap Minor Baseball players, the Special Olympics and other local projects. To learn more about the Burbank Civitan Club, or to become a member, call Elaine Paonessa, (818) 845-6851.

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