Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Justin Penezic, my brother, was diagnosed with congential heart disease at only two weeks old. Congential heart disease is a problem with the structure of the heart that is present at birth. It can involve the walls of the heart, valves of the heart and veins near the heart while stopping or disrupting the blood flow. Justin, a senior at Leesville, has previously had three open heart surgeries and more surgeries planned for the future.

The American Heart Association supports those living with heart malfunctions such as heart disease, heart attacks or heart transplants. Every year in September, the walk takes place to promote healthy living at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. Participating in the Heart Walk allows us, as a family, to support my brother and others who are dealing with similar problems.

Apart from Raleigh, the Heart Walk impressively occurs in 280 locations nationwide. “I love participating in the Heart Walk because I have been doing it for so long and it is for a great cause,” said Penezic.

Like most other medical conditions, heart disease faces ongoing symptoms throughout a diagnosed person’s life.The Heart Walk celebrates these people and how they deal with symptoms, but are still living their lives to the fullest. “I still have symptoms, but I live as much of a normal life as possible,” said Penezic.

Symptoms he still faces are severe asthma, allergies and therefore he is unable to participate in high school athletics. Justin still goes to the cardiologist every six months for a check-up and has been progressively improving health-wise.

The Penezic family has been participating in the Heart Walk since 1997 when Justin was only one year old. They will continue to support the American Heart Association as Justin continues to conquer his disease.

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