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‘Love Your Heart’ event raises health awareness

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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 4:30 am

As Janeen Talton and her family were shopping at the Killeen mall, she heard loud music and saw red balloons with the words “Love Your Heart,” on them in front of Dillards.

As soon as she realized Metroplex Advent Hospital was putting on a free blood pressure screening for the community Sunday, she pulled out her wallet and donated all the cash she had to the nonprofit hospital.

“I have a heart condition,” said Talton, 29, of Copperas Cove. “I’ve lived with it just fine, but someday I’ll have to get heart surgery.”

The money will help others now, and when Talton needs to pay for a procedure, she hopes others do the same.

Pati G. Thomas, a Metroplex spokeswoman, said the event is the culmination of the hospital’s “Love Your Heart” campaign during heart month, sponsored by the American Heart Association.

“People are (at the mall) and hopefully they’ll get their blood pressure checked and know their numbers and whether they need to see the doctor or not,” she said.

The event is part of the hospital’s ongoing mission to create awareness of different health conditions within the community, she said. “It’s a great opportunity to take that chance and come over and see if you’re healthy.”

Mary Franks, of Temple, learned her blood pressure was high when she got it checked.

Franks already monitors her blood pressure so she’s at a lower risk of a stroke or heart attack.

“There’s a lot of people, especially men, (who) don’t know they have high blood pressure,” she said.

Even though it was something she was born with, Talton didn’t learn about her bicuspid aortic valve heart condition until two years ago when she was pregnant with her son.

“My heart has to work twice as hard in order to pump blood,” she said.

Since she found out, she’s changed her diet, lost weight and doesn’t take life for granted. Talton hopes people take advantage of free health screenings and monitor their health.

“There’s some conditions that people don’t even know they have until it’s too late,” she said.

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