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Organizations: Cardiac center, Downtown Dash and St. Patrick's Day

February 25, 2011
  • Susanne Whatley, left, with Patrick and Elise Murray and Morre Dean, CEO of Glendale Adventist Medical Center at the Glendale News-Press Downtown Dash VIP Reception at the Alex Theatre Thursday night. Elise Murray is a stroke survivor and talked about her recovery during the reception. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)
Susanne Whatley, left, with Patrick and Elise Murray… (Joyce Rudolph )

Five heart attack survivors were honored for success at maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the King and Queen of Hearts event sponsored by the Glendale Memorial Heart Center at Glendale Memorial Hospital Thursday.

Crowned for their dedication to the program and mentoring new patients were Michael James of Glendale, Rita Khatchatourian of Glendale, Karl Kniseley of Glendale, Connie Andonegui of Sun Valley and Bill Tharp of La Crescenta.

Tharp shared his experience at the heart center with the more than 50 patients, family, friends and the public listening in the hospital’s auditorium.

“I’m not the man I used to be,” he said. “I weighed 272. Now I weigh 213.”

His goal is to get to 195, and he continues to work at it at the fitness center, walking the treadmill, lifting weights and riding the stationary bicycle, he said.

The Hearts event celebrates their hard work, said Dr. Lawrence R. O’Connor, medical director of the Cardiac Fitness Center.


“All of these people have come close to death and have been turned away from that event by medical intervention including coronary stints and coronary bypass,” O’Connor said. “This program is designed to help them prevent a second coronary event.”

Prior to the coronation, guests participated in screenings for weight, blood flow and diabetes at a health fair, said Michelle L. Alan Galanti, manager of Cardiac Fitness & Non-Invasive Cardiology.

“This event shows the community where they can go for treatment and honors people who have been participating in the cardiac fitness maintenance program for years,” she said.

Veterans of the program serve as mentors for those who have recently had heart problems, Galanti added.

“The newer patients are scared just having been through a traumatic event and they are being told by health professionals to eat right and exercise, and they aren’t quite sure how to do that,” she said. “But when they hear it from mentors, they see that it works, and they are living examples of the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation, which is exercise and dietary management.”

Warm-up event heralds Downtown Dash

A stroke victim shared her achievements over the last year during the Glendale News-Press Downtown Dash VIP Reception on Thursday at the Alex Theatre.

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