It was a sea of red at the annual Heart Walk at Savin Rock Park in West Haven on Saturday. More than 3,000 walkers headed to the start line with the goal of putting an end to stroke and heart disease.
Together, they helped raise more than $325,000 for the American Heart Association.
In the crowd were a number of survivors wearing red capes with the words “Heart Hero” on the back.
One of the smallest capes was worn by 18-month-old Emma Redente, of East Haven, who has been diagnosed with congenital heart defects. She was given a 20 percent chance of surviving delivery.
“She wasn’t going to make it,” said her mother, Jennifer Redente. “She shouldn’t be here today, but she is and we couldn’t be more blessed.”
Redente is a walking miracle, which is why her family found it important to take part in the Heart Walk. They know heart disease is the leading killer in the United States and are hoping to find a way to change the statistics.
“We were given our miracle and we want to fight and give back to those who aren’t as lucky as we are,” Redente said.
A lot of the money raised will stay in the community, with a number of research grants awarded to Yale University and Yale University School of Medicine.
“It’s not only treat the people with heart disease, but try to keep people from getting heart disease as well,” said Chris O’Connor, of the Yale-New Haven Health System.