Roger’s Story: Runner Refuses To Let Heart Attack Nip Tradition

Roger Ely couldn't be happier with his time in the 40th Run for the Mums, considering he experienced a heart attack less than a year earlier. Roger, a Piqua resident and regular runner, finished second in the 55-to-59 age group and 22nd overall among hundreds of runners during the annual run at the Tipp City Mum Festival.

He attributes part of his success to continued participation in the cardiac rehabilitation program at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC). “The rehab staff does such a thorough job. They teach education and exercise, which creates the greatest chance for a successful recovery,” Roger said.

He was impressed by the staff’s monitoring of rehab patients during exercise, along with the time they spend talking with patients about medications and providing education on diet, reducing stress, and overall wellness.

The executive director of administrative services for Bellefontaine City Schools, Roger experienced a heart event while visiting his sister in Tennessee in October 2017.

After returning from an afternoon run, he felt very dizzy and began sweating heavily. When his wife asked if he was having chest pain, Roger said he felt pressure on his chest.

They called 911 immediately, and Roger was soon under medics' care and on his way to a hospital in Williamson County, Tennessee. An electrocardiogram (EKG) showed he had experienced a heart attack, so a cardiac catheterization was performed, and two stents were placed to open a 100 percent blockage in one of his coronary arteries.

Roger said he's been described as a “chicken and broccoli guy” who was physically active but also had a family history of heart problems, including issues that led to bypass surgeries for his father and grandfather. Once home, he started and completed cardiac rehab at UVMC.

Over the months, he gradually returned to running, preparing for his seventh Run for the Mums.

“Last year I had done my best time. That was my goal this year,” he said. “I made it within 35 seconds of my best time, so I am OK with that. I am just happy to be out here among the runners.”

After graduating from the rehab program, Roger said he chose to continue participating and visits the exercise room at least once a week.

“I am very thankful for the program. Staff is great at creating an inviting sense of friendly community that makes it easy to return. I would strongly recommend to anyone facing a heart event recovery to check out the program and allow staff to design a program that meets their individual recovery needs,” he said.

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