Brian’s Guest Post: Life Beyond Heart Valve Surgery, Pulling Together a Running Team

When I joined Heart Valve Journals in September of 2012, I had really one thing in mind, “Could I continue running til surgery and after surgery would I be back to where I was at?”  In June, I was told that I needed to have surgery but decided not to fully believe that since I had no symptoms that I could see and was running 20-30 miles a week, completed a half marathon just months before and was planning a full marathon in November.

Brian Walsh
Brian & His Three Sons

Well, it came to reality in October and November when my Internal Cardiac Device (ICD) Defibrillator sent a shock through my body from my heart hitting over 180 and then 190 beats per minute.  As I reflected back on my journal entries, I remember this time too well.  This was the reality check I needed and the time I needed to talk it out with my wife to give me the peace to go ahead and get this surgery behind me.  The encouragement from this website was something I really needed as people I did not know reached out through the guestbook, provided information and I read story after story about success from others.

Brian Walsh - Former Patient & Runner
Brian 3 days after surgery, loving being photographed in my gown

Now, here I am almost 1 year from my surgery and back at full strength in my running, preparing for my first half marathon since surgery in April and trying to give back to this great community in any way I can.  I know there are many other passionate runners out here, some pre-surgery, some in recovery and many post surgery.  I already have a list of a few, Scott Newson, Mitch Friedman, Jim Jones, Peter Woglom, and John O’Neil.  Now, I want to get more and give back to the heart community as a whole, so here is the plan.

I’ve created a survey to gather feedback on race destinations, number of shirts and just willing supporters.  Since we are all over the world, I have to pick a place that is convenient for people to travel to.  The survey has a list of dates and destinations and I want to pick one that is best for everyone so the one with the most interest will be picked.  Second, I’ve got a design for a race shirt that I have posted in my journal you can find see below.

Finally, and most important, I’ve built a relationship with my local American Heart Association and would like to raise funds for them along with this effort.  No minimum, but my goal would be for the team to raise $10,000. Once we finalize a destination I will send out to all who sign up, post to my journal and plan to meet up at the destination the Friday/Saturday before the race so we can share stories and just meet each other that have provided all of us encouragement, prayers, support and so much more through these times.

Now I need this community to come together, I’ll work out all the details, but of course happy to take on volunteers that want to work with local hotels and other logistics, I just need you to let me know your interest and races you would like to do, so please complete the survey.

If you are reading this preparing for surgery and unsure of the unknown, follow the information on this site.  Adam has done a great job pulling together whatever you need and don’t hesitate to start a journal.  It is great to be able to look back on and you will be overwhelmed with the great response from family, friends and people you have never met before.

Keep on tickin!

Brian Walsh
Hellerton, Pennsylvania

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

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