Heart Walk 2018
Six months ago, Santa Clarita resident Bob Larlee’s three-week-old grandson, Chase, was in a hospital room, hooked up to all sorts of machines while doctors tried figuring out what was wrong with his heart.
He was born with a rare heart defect and this sweet, beautiful boy Bob had fallen in love with was fighting for his life.
Larlee served on the American Heart Association Los Angeles board for five years until 2013. He recalled galas featuring people who had overcome worse diagnoses. He remembered lunch meetings where scientists explained research breakthroughs and emerging technologies.
“This,” he thought, “is what that was all about.”
Chase had open-heart surgery on a Friday. Because of swelling, the chest cavity was left open until Sunday.
“The following Friday he was being laid gently on our coffee table for his diaper change,” Larlee said. “That’s remarkable. That’s all because of research.”
As an AHA volunteer, Larlee advocated to make pulse oximetry screening a requirement for newborns in California. The simple test that was mandated by law in 2013, was the same screening that led to the detection of his grandson’s heart condition.
Now Larlee is back on the LA board. “It felt really good being involved the first time,” he said. “But now that I have a grandson in the throes of a heart problem, I’m not a spectator anymore. I’m one of the families going through this. I’m going to do everything I can to turn the love I have for Chase into giving back. That’s my goal. It’s a journey we’re on together.”
Larlee and his family are raising funds and participating in the Heart Walk on November 3 at Bridgeport Park in Santa Clarita. You, too, can join the Heart Walk at www.heartwalkla.org. The event is locally sponsored by Keck Medicine of USC, Huntington Hospital, UCLA Health and Antelope Valley Hospital.
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