Duluth woman walks from the heart
Colleen Trapp of Duluth thought it was a bad case of indigestion. She wasn't short of breath, didn't have pain in her left arm, and she was only 26 years old. When her nausea didn't go away, Trapp went to the emergency room -- and was shocked to ...
Colleen Trapp of Duluth thought it was a bad case of indigestion.
She wasn't short of breath, didn't have pain in her left arm, and she was only 26 years old. When her nausea didn't go away, Trapp went to the emergency room -- and was shocked to learn she was having a heart attack.
"I had no family history of heart disease whatsoever," Trapp said.
But she did smoke, and she was taking birth control pills. The combination led to a blood clot in her heart -- and her first heart attack led to a heart arrhythmia diagnosed after Trapp went into cardiac arrest at work. Co-workers kept her alive with CPR until paramedics arrived.
By the time Trapp was in her mid-40s, she needed a new heart.
Five months to the day after her transplant, Trapp was healthy enough to walk in the American Heart Association's Heart Walk in Duluth. And on Saturday, she will walk it again, along with hundreds of others -- families, friends and heart disease and stroke survivors -- as part of the seventh annual American Heart Association's Heart Walk in Duluth.
"I did it [the walk last year] to honor the person who donated my heart, and that's the person I'll always walk for," Trapp said.
Taking part in the nearly three-mile walk along the Lakewalk is a way to encourage people to lead more active, physically healthy lives, said Karen Einisman, spokesperson with the American Heart Association.
The Heart Walk also helps raise money to support heart and stroke research, including innovations with CPR, clot-busting drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery and surgical solutions to heart defects.
According to the association, people gain about two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular, vigorous exercise they complete during their life, Einisman said.
Being able to be physically active is still a new pleasure for Trapp. For years, she had to limit her activity because of her weakened heart.
"It got tiring, not being able to be active, not being able to do a lot of things," Trapp said. "I had to learn to live with the disease."
But despite all her body has gone through, Trapp said she wouldn't change her experience.
"It was a path that God chose for me; it was a journey I was meant to go on," Trapp said. "I would never go back, ever."
Trapp did her first Heart Walk not only to honor her heart donor, but "to prove to myself that I was getting better," she said. "These types of things can happen to anybody, and given the obesity level in the United States, to be active and be fit and heart-healthy is so important."
JANNA GOERDT covers the communities surrounding Duluth. She can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5527 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you go
What: American Heart Association's annual Heart Walk
When: Saturday. Registration begins at 8 a.m.; walk begins at 9:15 a.m.
Where: Meet at South Pioneer Hall at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center; walk takes place along the Lakewalk
Cost: No entry fee, but donations are accepted