Hundreds participate in virtual Capital Region Heart Walk & Run, with nearly $500,000 already raised

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Hundreds of people stepping off to participate in the annual Capital Region Heart Walk & Run, which was held virtually for the second consecutive year Sunday. The event has already raised nearly $500,000.

While the event looks different again this year, it continues to aim for the same goal, funding research for the American Heart Association.

“I want to help other kids with special hearts,” said Aedan Conway, this year’s Heart Hero.

Conway is 9-years-old and was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, essentially meaning only half of his heart functions properly.

His family says Aedan has been helping with American Heart Association fundraising since he was in a stroller, taking the big stride this year as the event’s Heart Hero.

“We’re so proud of him to kinda take this on his own and run with it now,” his mother, Jennifer, said.

Aedan and his family walk to support the organization that has helped through so much, as they’ve advocated from the moment they found out he’d be born with his condition.

“From that day we knew that we wanted to do something to make sure that not only he had a healthy life, and future, but that hopefully families after us won’t have to go through the journey we had to go through with him,” his mom explained.

Joining them from miles away was another family who’s also been touched by the support of the AHA.

“I’ve had four strokes over the last 20 years, thankfully, knock on wood, knock on wood, no lasting effects. But because of the research the Heart Association has funded, I was able to have that hole in my heart closed last year,” said Braden Russom.

Russom is this year’s Stroke Ambassador, and is hopeful that procedure will keep him stroke-free for the remainder of his life.

In addition to his condition, his wife and daughters also have heart disorders in Long QT Syndrome, something that was able to be caught early.

“If we didn’t know about their condition, if we didn’t have the medication to keep them safe, tragic things could happen, they might not be with us today,” Russom says.

Over $489,000 has been raised to this point, with the American Heart Association taking donations throughout the month of June.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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