NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Every person who crosses the finish line at the Nashville Heart walk, gets the same loud, enthusiastic greeting.
"We see them all cross and we get excited for them because they count for something, no matter how small or big it seems to them," said Carlos Mikhaeil, a volunteer for the event.
That's because, they've all shown their heart. "We all have a heart so it’s easy to give," said Woody Woodward, CEO of Kirklands and the Chair of the Nashville Heart Walk.
For the first time since the pandemic started, the Nashville Heart Walk was back in person on TSU's campus and organizers couldn't have been more thrilled. "We’re so happy to be back together and be involved in this. It’s kind of the fun part of a hard working year," said Woodward.
Because let's face it, you just can't get this kind of support through a computer. But while the finish line greeting was the same for everyone, why people gathered at the starting line was unique to each person. "We came out here to walk for Gram, she died from heart failure earlier this year," said Karley Whittaker.
The event wasn't just about raising money, it was also about raising awareness, especially for conditions you may have never heard of. "I am a survivor of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy. It’s congestive heart failure brought on by pregnancy," said Beth Crutcher.
Beth survived her problematic pregnancies, but is still in her fight. Doctors say she's medically still in heart failure. Still, she feels grateful to be here. "It’s amazing, I’m glad I’m still here and got to see my oldest daughter have a grand baby, so I’ve got a grand baby to live for," she said.
Robin Cole wishes the same could be said for his daughter. "My oldest daughter passed away in January from PPCM [Peripartum Cardiomyopathy]," said Cole.
Robin is a two time Super Bowl Champion, part of the Iron Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But on this day, he's just a father fighting for funding. "A lot of emotions when I think about her because my daughter was just a super person," said Cole.
His hope, with a little heart, we can ensure others will finish their race. "How do we go about putting ourselves in a position where we can help people prevent them from going through the same things she’s gone through?" asked Cole.
Organizers said they've raised more than $1.6 million for heart disease research. It's not too late to donate.