When the races at the second annual Run With Heart kick off Saturday, Jana Harris will be at the starting line with her running shoes and a heavy heart.
The event conjures up painful memories of her father’s heart attack several years ago, an episode that ended in great relief at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, where doctors successfully implanted stints to open two clogged arteries.
“It was a scary time for our family, but they took good care of him, and he’s doing really well,” said Harris, president and chief executive of Harris Packaging Corp., which her father, Joe Harris, founded. The Haltom City-based company and its Mansfield subsidiary, American Carton Co., are sponsors of the event and plan to send 20 to 25 employees to participate in the activities.
“Of course you want to raise money for the organization,” she added. “But also to get the word out there about the top-quality healthcare in Mansfield now.”
Run With Heart, which seeks to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and how to avoid it, will feature three running events. Participants can choose between a half marathon, 5K or one-mile family fun walk, starting at 7:30 a.m., 7:40 a.m. and 7:45 a.m., respectively.
All will begin at the hospital, 2700 E. Broad St., and proceed along streets to the south and west of the hospital, ending on the main trails of the Walnut Creek Linear Park.
Afterward, several restaurants and the culinary program at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy will serve food, a DJ will provide music and staff doctors will be available to talk about better heart and joint heath.
Runners and volunteers should register at www.MansfieldRunWithHeart.org.
Mouse Electronics, Mansfield’s largest private employer, with 1,200 workers, also is sponsoring the event. Mouser President and CEO Glenn Smith, who also is a runner, will lead the Mouser team at the event.
“Mouser is excited to step out for this important cause,” Smith said in a statement. “It’s a great opportunity for us to give back to the local community while helping to build awareness about health and fitness for our own employees.”
Hospital President John E. Phillips said that although heart disease is more common in people who are 35 and older, there is no pass for younger people. He cited recent screenings of student athletes by hospital staff cardiologist Alan Taylor.
“Through those echocardiogram screenings, we found several middle and high school athletes that needed further cardio follow-up before they could be cleared to participate in school sports,” Phillips said.
Last year, about 1,000 people ran or walked in the three races, raising about $10,000. The funds covered a third of the hospital’s cost to buy an Arctic Sun, a piece of equipment that lowers the core body temperature to help stabilize a heart-attack victim.
As the patient begins to recover, the core temperature is allowed to rise gradually back to normal.
Phillips said the hospital hasn’t yet decided what equipment it will buy with this year’s Run With Heart funds. But he said it would “stay at the hospital and be used to take care of patients at the hospital.”
He said the hospital also has decided to donate some of the funds to the American Heart Association in Tarrant County.