10/07/12 — Fundraiser targets end of heart disease

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Fundraiser targets end of heart disease

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 7, 2012 1:50 AM

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A group of walkers participate in the Mount Olive Heart Walk on Saturday. Dozens of survivors and others turned out to raise money for the American Heart Association.

MOUNT OLIVE -- LaRue Tart spent much of her Saturday morning walking around the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. parking lot -- passing out informational pamphlets about an organization that offers peer-to-peer support for people like her.

She was one of dozens of "heart survivors" about to take part in an annual walk created to raise money for -- and awareness about -- medical conditions that touch families across the nation.

"We just want to let them there is hope out there for them," she said, extending a flier to a passer-by.

She should know.

A stroke survivor who endured open-heart surgery in her 50s, Mrs. Tart understands the importance of support -- and the research events like the annual Mount Olive Heart Walk help fund.

Dozens of Wayne County residents came together Saturday to share stories and raise money -- to take to the streets for those still fighting, and those who have lost, battles with heart conditions.

Like members of the Northeast Original Free Will Baptist Church who wore T-shirts bearing the names, and likenesses, of four members of their congregation who are no longer with them: Kristie Lee, Cathy Sutton Hardy and Billy and Merdie Best.

Or 11-year-old Logan Wrench, a member of the Southern Bank team, who posed for pictures next to the red hearts hanging from a fence that bore the names of her great-grandfather, Richard Wright, and step-grandfather, Ted Shepard.

And there was even a man among them who suffered a heart attack less than two weeks ago.

But Stan Ricker said he wasn't planning on walking by himself.

God, he said -- the one who has been beside him every day since he had his first heart attack in 1998 -- would be with him step for step.

"He's got something else planned for me," Ricker said.