2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & Stroke

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & Stroke

On the first Sunday of November, thousands of athletes from across the globe gather for the TCS New York City Marathon. This year, the world-renowned marathon takes place on Sunday, November 3rd and we are proud to announce that 40 runners from around the country, will be participating in the race on behalf of the American Heart Association. It is our honor to highlight these runners/fundraisers who comprise Team Heart & Stroke, because they embody the best values that our organization represents.

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & Stroke

Molly Alter

Occupation: Associate at Insight Venture Partners

Hobbies: Tennis, running, cooking, film editing

What’s your why?

On the last day of my senior year of high school, I suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. I was smack in the middle of the hallway when I fell to the floor and went into ventricular fibrillation. My life was saved by a quick-thinking friend who began performing CPR, an incredible school nurse, and our school’s AED.  I don’t take my health for granted, and do whatever I can to ensure I have as much time as possible with my family and friends. It took my near-death experience to fully appreciate how important these people are to me, and the extent to which my suffering was their suffering too. As I get healthier, they get happier, which is a wonderfully virtuous cycle.

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & Stroke

Courtney Brown

Occupation: Human Resources at University of California

Hobbies: Long distance running, yoga, hiking, reading, spending time with my dog

What’s your why?

Albert Jung, MD, PhD

Occupation:  Assistant Professor of Medicine / Division of Cardiology, NYU Langone Hospital

Hobbies: reading, restaurants, music, playing piano and guitar, concerts, sporting events

What’s your why?

As a cardiologist I see the destruction cardiovascular disease causes on a daily basis and the impact it has on my patients’ lives and their families. The suffering is real and I am humbled by their suffering and their harrowing journey to survive. Life truly is a gift that should not be taken lightly, and I am inspired daily by the courage and strength of my patients and their fight to survive. For many, the destruction of this disease is sudden and merciless. I lost my beloved cousin Helen Ahn this past year from a catastrophic stroke from a rare disorder. She was an amazing selfless person and only in her early 40s – a public servant who served the city of NYC as an assistant district attorney. She was full of love, joy, and had a bright future – but overnight she was taken by this disease. I am dedicating this race to her and other victims of this disease, my patients, my colleagues who work day in and day out to save lives, and all the families who have lost loved ones to this disease like myself.

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & StrokeSarah Klena

Occupation: Professional Development Specialist at Curriculum Associations

Hobbies: Traveling, reading, writing, being with my dogs, wife and friends.

What’s your why?

At age 31 I unexpectedly has a widow maker heart attack. At the time I was training for my first marathon. Since the heart attack, I’ve worked with the AHA and with survivors all over the world, increasing awareness and education on heart disease. Now, I’m running the New York City Marathon for the American Heart Association to give back to an organization that has helped me in my recovery. I’ll also come full circle and run my first marathon.

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & StrokeMatt Lindner

Occupation: Rakuten Marketing/Content Marketing Manager

Hobbies: Traveling, exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods with my girlfriend, and her dogs, photography, trying new restaurants, boxing classes, writing, going to Cubs games in the summer.

What’s your why?

I run marathons to honor my late mother and also to stay on the right track physically. My mom suffered a fatal stroke in 2014 and over the years, I had fallen into some unhealthy habits myself. I wasn’t exercising, my diet was terrible, and I was drinking too much. One night in 2016 after having one too many glasses of wine, I decided I was going to run a marathon in part because I was sick of myself. I ran my first marathon in 2017 and haven’t looked back since. The 2019 New York City Marathon will by my fifth in the span of three years. I’m in the best physical shape of my life and I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I was before I started running. More importantly, I’ve raised thousands of dollars in my mom’s honor.

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & StrokeSelina Santos

Occupation: NBC Universal Co-Executive Producer

Hobbies: In my spare time I love to run, I teach indoor cycling at my local studio Joyride. I love going out for Dim Sum. Traveling. But my main focus in being with my family.

What’s your why?

Since my diagnosis, I have made it a mission to spread heart disease awareness to everyone. After years of having symptoms and being dismissed that I was just “stressed” it got to a point where it became unbearable. I found it difficult to walk up a short flight of stairs. I have a high stress job and one afternoon found myself having the most intense chest pains I have ever experienced. I sought the advice of a cardiologist who changed my life. After a myriad of tests, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, Aortic Insufficiency, and multiple valve issues. I was put on strict guidelines to incorporate exercise, healthy eating, cut down on stress or I would suffer the worst case scenario. I didn’t take her advice lightly, i made it my mission. I wanted the lifestyle change over surgery or worse. One of my goals was to run a marathon, something she said would be a difficult task to do. It took me four years to get my heart ready and cleared. I didn’t just run a marathon. I ran 19 half marathons and 3 full in a year and a half. New York will be my ultimate accomplishment and proof that heart disease can be reversed. I want to share my story that you should NEVER ignore the symptoms. To remind people that Heart Disease is the #1 killer, know your BP numbers, make a lifestyle change and that if you are diagnosed, you can still be unstoppable!

2019 New York City Marathon: Introducing Team Heart & StrokeJonathan Truong

Occupation: Yelp, Inc.

Hobbies: Dancing, weight lifting, hip-hop, anything to do with healthier living, learning cultures, traveling.

What’s your why?

My father passed away from a heart attack last year, on August 29th which resulted from complications with diabetes. I’m running to honor him. My brother also suffered a stroke this past spring, so I’m running for him too. I also want to do as much good as possible.