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‘Courageous Heart’ run comes to Rocklin

By: Brody Fernandez, Lead Reporter for South Placer
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Courageous Heart Run in Rocklin

  • When:8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6
  • Where: Johnson Springview Park, 5480 5th St., Rocklin
  • Info: eventbrite.com/e/courageous-heart-run-tickets-47603790218?aff=eac 
  • https://mendedhearts.org/

The Courageous Heart 5K & Fun Run hosted by Mended Little Hearts of Sacramento will be on Oct. 6.

Rocklin hosts the inaugural run.

“We were looking for a good venue for the event,” said coordinator Eric Heckelman. “It’s really nice and the trails behind Johnson Springview are just great.”

Heckelman shared how this run came to be and his personal ties to the event.

”We have been active with Mended Little Hearts of Sacramento, a group supporting children with congenital heart defects and their families, since our youngest daughter Emma (10) was a baby,” Heckelman said.

“This run is the first of what we hope will become an annual event to raise money for Mended Little Hearts of Sacramento and to increase congenital heart disease awareness.”

Some of these children need costly and extensive surgery and operations to make it through, according to Rocklin resident Heckelman.

“We live in Rocklin with Emma who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) or essentially half a heart,” Heckelman said. “She has had three open heart surgeries at Stanford at 10 days old, 2 1/2 months old and 4 years old. Someday, she will need a transplant, though we are hopeful that may not be for a few decades.”

Heckelman has met more families from Placer County that have gone through the same journey.

“We met a family (the Van Sants) at Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto who were from Lincoln, whose daughter Samantha is a few months older than Emma. She had a heart transplant at 1 month old. We remain in touch with them to this day.”

This run is a family-friendly event to fundraise and support children and families impacted by congenital heart disease, according to Heckelman.

This run and health fair will be on Oct. 6 at Johnson Springview Park (5480 5th St., Rocklin). Heckelman hopes that residents will show up to help these children born with a congenital heart disease and help bring awareness about the disease. One in 110 babies are born with congenital heart disease, according to Heckelman.

“Our goal is to raise money for bravery bags for all the children staying at local hospitals who are undergoing open heart surgeries. Bravery bags include books, stuffed animals, toiletries, goodies, snacks and miscellaneous things so that they can have some kind of normalcy in the hospital during their pediatric intensive stay. Events we also host are ‘Eggtastic Hearts’ and ‘Giving Hearts Smiles’, a holiday party for all CHD children to attend,” Heckelman said. “Funding research is something we want to do as well as help local pediatric cardiovascular hospitals and clinics with their needs for children with CHD.”
Heckelman stressed that this is not a timed race.

“We are looking for sponsors. If you or your business would like to donate or sponsor our event,” Heckelman said, “please reach out to us on our website, https://mendedhearts.org, under events.”