Mother, family running to spread message of preventing heart disease5/6/2014
May 7 — PROVO — On January 8, Stephanie Sobotka was a normal mother of five who needed to shovel snow off her driveway before leaving to play tennis with a friend. On January 9, she was the victim of a heart attack.
The next day, Sobotka became the survivor of open heart surgery where physicians placed six bypass grafts to restore proper blood flow to her heart. And now, exactly four months later, she’s a runner preparing for Saturday’s Race for Red at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
“We’ve been conditioned to believe the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But women are different. For me, it was severe back pain,” said Sobotka, 39, from Highland. “I didn’t realize I was having a heart attack. I had no chest pain.”
Sobotka, her husband, Kelly, and their five children ages 18 to 10 plan to join hundreds of others runners, walkers and strollers in the hospital’s Race for Red 10K/5K and 1-mile Fun Run. Now in its sixth year, the Race for Red focuses on preventing heart disease and celebrates those who live heart healthy.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Many of a person’s risk factors can be lowered through lifestyle changes such as getting more cardiovascular exercise,” said Jane Fox, director of Heart Services at Utah Valley Regional. “To do that, we all need to start somewhere, so we invite everyone to join the Race for Red – no matter their fitness level.”
Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are all heart disease risk factors that can improve through consistent exercise. Sobotka knew her mother battled high cholesterol but thought she didn’t need to worry because of her age and activity level.
“I was unaware of my genetic disposition for high cholesterol. Education and awareness are the keys to helping prevent this deadly disease. I want to prompt women to take action to protect their heart health,” said Sobotka.
For more information about Race for Red, go to www.raceforred.com.