Heart disease survivor runs in Karen’s 5K

By on March 4, 2019

The proceeds of most, if not all, 5K runs go to very worthy causes. Cystic Fibrosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Diabetes, Autism and Cancer. Just to mention a few.

Every now and then, however, there is a 5K run that a participant has a personal interest in and commitment to. Such was the case with Bruce Rychwalski, 69, of Gates. On Sunday, February 17, the senior runner and heart disease survivor participated in Karen’s 5K Run in the Gordon Field House on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus.

The event raised money for cardiomyopathy research at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and was in memory of Karen Decker who passed away at age 22 from Postpartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM). Postpartum Cardiomyopathy is a rare disorder in which a weakened and damaged heart is diagnosed within the final month of pregnancy or within five months after delivery. Its cause is unknown.

In April 2011, Rychwalski experienced a life-threatening Ventricular Tachycardia and was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a genetic heart muscle disease. Since his diagnosis, he has participated in 322 5K runs. His next event will be the 2019 Rochester Heart Walk & 5K Run on Saturday, April 6, at Frontier Field. He invites both walkers and runners to join his team, The Lionhearted, in this annual fund raising event for the American Heart Association. Visit www.RochesterHeartWalkRun.org and click on “Register” and then “Join a Team.”

Karen’s 2019 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk was hosted by Phi Sigma Pi, National Honor Fraternity, Delta Alpha Chapter. The race directors were Caleb Katzenstein and Forrest Shooster.

Provided information

Bruce Rychwalski (back row, far left) with fellow runners. Photo by Peter Haggerty

Bruce Rychwalski (back row, far left) with fellow runners. Photo by Peter Haggerty