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Ottumwa Stories: Local Heart Attack Survivor Determines To Complete 5K

Published April 12, 2023

Ottumwa Has Heart 5K run/walk raises awareness, promotes advocacy

A life-threatening heart attack in 2021 changed Mike Craff’s outlook on life and health. Now in 2023, he’s participating in a local 5K to inspire others to take care of themselves before it’s too late.

While on a bucket list hunting trip in Canada, Mike more than seven hours away from civilization when his heart attack hit. One of his hunting buddies was a physician’s assistant, who was able to care for him until help arrived. Then it was several more hours before he arrived at a cardiac center. Even after being stabilized, Mike would undergo extensive cardiac therapy to begin healing and strengthening his heart.

In 2022, Mike’s son and daughter-in-law learned about the first Ottumwa Has Heart 5K and immediately thought of him. They donated to the event and had a sign displayed along the course to show their support for all his hard work. With just 15% heart function, Mike was able to make it through the first mile. This year, with the help and support of his cardiac therapist, who will walk the route with him, his goal is to complete the entire route.

“Since people have heard my story, they have reached out and asked how they can pray, what they can do,” he said. “The 5K is something they can do, something that might be a help to someone they know or to educate themselves.”

The Iowa Heart Foundation’s second annual Ottumwa Has Heart 5K is set for Saturday, April 29, and will kick off at 9 a.m. in the Quincy Place Mall parking lot. Participants will follow a 3.1 miles route through Greater Ottumwa Park on the trail. Registration is required and available online at: www.iowaheartfoundation.org. Proceeds from the event will support heart health initiatives here in Wapello County.

Stories like Mike’s are often the inspiration someone needs to take control of their own health journey. Since hearing of his heart attack and the recovery that continues, six friends went to get their heart tests, and one ended up requiring angioplasty, something they wouldn’t have done without hearing Mike’s story. He says this is why events like the Ottumwa Has Heart 5K are so important.

“It’s not a competition - it’s a fundraiser,” Mike reminds everyone. “The more people who get involved, maybe the quicker we can find cures that will help my heart, your heart, or the heart of someone you love.”

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