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Features Health & Wellness 5K race planned to benefit cardiac patients in Franklin

Mary Keener works with Angel Medical Center’s Tom Forkner. After suffering a heart attack in December, Keener goes to rehabilitation three time’s a week. Photo by Vickie CarpenterAngel Medical Center (AMC) is gearing up for the second annual “Macon Your Heart Beat” 5K walk/run event, to raise funds for its Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. The event will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 14 at Tassee shelter on the Little Tennessee Greenway.

All proceeds from the event will go to support Angel Medical’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. The program allows patients to properly recuperate from treatment, which according to AMC’s director of media relations Bonnie Peggs, is rarely fully covered by insurance plans. “Insurance usually covers 6-8 rehab sessions, and we recommend at least 10 in order to properly recover,” said Peggs. “The scholarship program allows patients to receive additional sessions and to recover fully.”

Franklin native Mary Keener is a perfect example of the benefit the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program can have for heart attack patients.

On December 27 of last year, Keener suffered from a heart attack and was transported to Angel Medical Center. She received surgery on Dec. 28 before beginning the long road to recovery. According to Keener, before she was even released from AMC, she had already been scheduled to begin rehabilitation.

Keener, who receives rehabilitation services three times a week at AMC, said that she gets a little strong with each visit. “Every time I attend rehab, I feel myself getting stronger and stronger,” said Keener. “I am still recovering, but I know that there is no way I would be able to do it without the hospital’s help. The rehabilitation program is the most amazing thing that could have happened to a heart attack patient. I think I am addicted to the exercises,” she joked.

“It is a shame that some people cannot afford to complete the rehabilitation program because it is so important to their recovery,” said Keener. “The program is amazing, and I am so thankful that events like the 5K race are there to help raise money to make sure cardiac patients receive the treatment they so desperately need.”

According to Keener, during her Monday, Wednesday, and Friday trips to to the hospital, she participates in a series of stretching and cardiovascular activities that help to strengthen her heart. “Patients come in and can barely hold heir heads up or can barely walk. But with the exercises they teach us, we all keep getting better,” said Keener. “It is truly amazing to see the progress" that each patient makes.

Aside from the physical benefits of the rehabilitation services, Keener believes that the classes provide essential social support and reinforcement. “The social portion of the classes offer comfort because you are surrounded around people who are going through similar circumstances and are able to understand the struggle,” she said.


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