Raleigh man inspires with heart for walking
Posted September 21, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man hopes to inspire others to prevent heart problems, which are the No. 1 killer in the United States and a major cause of disability.
Every 25 seconds, someone has a coronary event, but Colon Terrell, 63, thought he'd never be one of them.
"Doctors say it's 90 percent hereditary, 10 percent lifestyle," he said.
Terrell was a marathon runner, but over the years, he stopped eating as well and felt more stress in his life. He also had a strong family history of heart disease.
In February 2009, the balance of heredity and lifestyle tipped too far.
"(It) started out with what I thought was really bad indigestion, and then I knew immediately what I had, because it felt like someone had hit me with a hammer in my left elbow," Terrell said.
He had a heart attack and required open-heart surgery and five bypasses.
"Every artery to the front of my heart was 90 percent (to) 100 percent blocked," he said.
After the surgery, Terrell embraced walking as an exercise to strengthen his heart. He's gone from walking a couple miles to training for a 3,000-mile journey.
"This was also on my bucket list. I thought I'd see America a few steps at a time, so I've plotted a path from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to the Santa Monica pier," he said.
He plans to start next March and take 180 days, resting every fifth day. His wife will drive an RV and meet him at daily stops.
Along the way, Terrell will speak at American Heart Association chapters in various cities to raise money for research.
As well as going through eight pairs of walking shoes, Terrell hopes he inspires more people to walk for the sake of their hearts.
"(It's a) great way to exercise," he said.
Terrell hopes to be back in Raleigh in time for the Triangle Heart Walk next September.
This year's Triangle Heart Walk takes place Sunday, Sept. 25, at the RBC Center. Festivities begin at 1 p.m., and the walk starts at 2 p.m.