5 On Your Side

Clayton Fear Farm owner had heart scare

Posted October 5, 2011 10:04 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2011 6:17 p.m. EDT

— The owner of the Clayton Fear Farm is using his Halloween tradition to honor the heart doctors at WakeMed whom he credits with saving his life.

Percy Glen Boyette, 59, recognized the warning signs of heart trouble this summer while climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with his wife.

"We got halfway up, and I started having chest pains," he said.

Boyette stopped to rest and then felt OK, but decided he would see his doctor when he got home. His doctor found three blockages in his heart.

Boyette underwent triple-bypass heart surgery at WakeMed on July 9 and continues to go the hospital for cardiac rehabilitation three days a week.

"That has helped me out tremendously in terms of getting rid of the soreness and regaining some of the stamina," he said.

While recovering from surgery, Boyette spent a lot of time thinking about the design of the corn maze for the 10th season of the Clayton Fear Farm.

"It just all of sudden hit me – how about WakeMed Heart Center?" he said. "They did a wonderful thing for me. This is something I can do for them."

He designed this year's corn maze in the shape of the WakeMed logo. The maze covers five acres and two miles of trails, including dead ends, that visitors can spend two or more hours trying to find their way out of.

Boyette said he's also grateful for the warning he got at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

"That lighthouse probably saved my life," he said.

Boyette said he also felt more winded while walking around his farm earlier this year – another warning sign of heart problems.

Other signs and risk factors include a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity, excessive use of alcohol and a diet that raises your cholesterol or includes too much sodium.

To improve your risk factors, have your blood pressure and sugar levels checked regularly. Achieve a normal weight, and maintain it with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods and low in red meat. Exercise more often, and if you smoke, quit.