Skyler Briggs, an Akron-Westfield eighth grader and son of Derek Briggs and Nikki Knapp of Akron, will be one of the honorees at the Plymouth/Sioux County American Heart Association’s 19th annual Heart Walk Saturday, April 20 at the Le Mars Middle School.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with walk festivities at 9:00 a.m.
Skyler had heart surgery when he was two years old. He was born with a hole in his heart that did not heal on its own.
Here’s the auto-biography Skyler wrote:
“My name is Skyler Briggs and I had heart surgery when I was 2. I was born with a hole in my heart that usually heals in most babies. Mine didn’t heal and when I had my nine-month checkup, Dr. David Wolff heard my heart beating funny. I was sent to Dr. Eyad Najdawi in Sioux City and he discovered there was a hole in my heart which was allowing blood to pump back into the other side, so much so that it was about twice the normal size. It was finalized that I needed open-heart surgery but it would be best for me to wait until I was two years old. When the time came for surgery, I was sent to Children’s Hospital in Omaha and my surgeon, Dr. Kim Duncan, did a great job. He had to because he was under the watchful eyes of my favorite Buzz Lightyear toy and my blanky. Over the next few weeks, it was painful to walk or bend over and I got places in my red wagon. I healed and I haven’t had problems with my heart since. I have checkups every five years and they have gone smoothly. Now I’m involved in everything that my classmates are without having to worry about my heart. I play the saxophone in band, sing in choir, I’m the starting center in football, I love wrestling, I pitch, play shortstop, and first base in baseball, and am involved in many other activities such as teasing my two younger brothers. I am so thankful that I had heart surgery because it changed my life for the better. Thanks for reading this and please come to the Heart Walk on April 20 in Le Mars.”
Other honorees include: Regyn Lloyd, daughter of Adam and Mary Lloyd of Plymouth County; Titus De Koster, son of Mike and Amanda De Koster of Sioux Center; and Alix and Jacey Van Ravenswaay, daughters of Carmen Van Ravenswaay of Sioux Center.
There will be blood pressure readings, educational brochures, face painting, refreshments and food. Anyone interested is welcomed to recruit walkers for the local Plymouth/Sioux County American Heart Association to help reach its goal of raising money to help build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
For more information please contact Edona Snyder 712-546-2345; Karen Schuiteman 712-722-8113; Dee Meerdink 712-551-3100, Linda Rhods 712-476-8081 and Shannon Beaty 712-737-5289.