Every year, Katie Ford, who works at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, can be found with a plastic jar and a stack of donation envelopes, encouraging colleagues to support the activities of the American Heart Association. In particular, she urges them to sign up for the annual First Coast Heart Walk, which Mayo Clinic sponsors.
Heart disease runs in Ford's family, which is why she's so passionate about supporting the cause and spreading the word about cardiovascular health.
Although he was 74-years-old, Ford's father hadn't been to a doctor's office his entire adult life. When her mother was able to convince him it was time for a checkup, his doctors immediately identified issues.
"The doctor found he was 75 percent blocked and said he was a ticking time bomb for a heart attack," Katie says. Her dad received a stent, and all was well for a number of years. However, his condition progressed, and he had a pacemaker and defibrillator installed in August 2014.