Young Wyoming heart defect survivor to lead Northeast PA Heart Walk

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WILKES-BARRE — Zachary Milewski, a 2-year-old congenital heart defect survivor from Wyoming, has been a fighter since the day he was born at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville in May 2015. Zachary will serve as the child chair of the American Heart Association’s 2018 Northeast PA Heart Walk, presented by Geisinger, at PNC Field, on April 28. Registration and activities begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk steps off at 10 a.m.

Zachary was born with dextro-transposition of the great arteries, ventricular septal defect and pulmonary stenosis. At just 1 day old, he was flown to Nemours A. I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington, Del. to begin the process of fixing his tiny heart and saving his life. He underwent his first open-heart surgery at just 19 days old and spent the first six weeks of his life in the hospital. Even after he could finally go home, his first few months were full of complications, medications and visits to the doctor. At 8 months old, he underwent his second open-heart surgery.

Today, Zachary is growing stronger and, although there are more surgeries in his future, his parents, Steven and Sarah Milewski, look forward to him enjoying a full and healthy life. They, along with the rest of Team Zach Attack, will lead off the Heart Walk on April 28.

“We are so grateful for all of the support and phenomenal medical team both locally and far that have never given up hope. Each day, it is such a joy to watch him grow and thrive,” said Zach’s mother Sarah Milewski. “We started walking as Team Zach Attack to support the American Heart Association so that we can continue to research and treat everyone with congenital heart defects and cardiovascular disease.”

The Heart walk will begin with a fun-filled celebration of healthy choices, followed by a walk on the 1-mile loop track on PNC Field. Additionally, physicians, executives and staff from Commonwealth Health are continuing the tradition of donating bicycles that will be awarded to children who participate in the event. The Heart Walk culminates the celebration of Move More Month, part of the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good campaign to encourage sustainable healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy For Good encourages four simple healthy changes: Eat Smart, Add Color, Move More and Be Well.

Dollars raised will support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, through supporting heart disease and stroke research, health care quality improvement, advocacy, prevention and education.

The Heart Walk is presented locally by Geisinger, with additional support from Commonwealth Health, Cross Valley Federal Credit Union, Medtronic, Metlife, PHDI, Gift of Life, Erwine Home Health and DBA Architects.

For more information about the Northeast PA Heart Walk, visit www.heart.org/northeastpawalk. or contact Amy Skiba at 570-815-4243 or amy.skiba@heart.org.

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