Every year, the American Heart Association sponsors the local Heart & Stroke Walk, supported by Healthy for Good sponsors Wake Forest Baptist Health and MedCost. This year, husband-wife doctors from Wake Forest Baptist Health co-chaired the September event — and took to the streets to help make a difference.
Angela and Matthew Edwards reside in Winston-Salem with their children, Max and Madison, and two schnoodles. In their spare time, they live the mantra they impart to their patients every day: “live healthy and wholeheartedly, and share abundantly.”
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. — and the second leading cause of death in Forsyth County — we took some time to discuss their involvement with the event, and why getting involved is so important.
1. You both work at Wake Forest Baptist Health. What do you do?
Dr. Angela Edwards: “I am an associate professor of anesthesiology and the section head of perioperative medicine within the department of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. I care for patients before, during, and after surgery. Preoperatively, I make certain patients are physically and mentally prepared for the surgical experience.”
Dr. Matthew Edwards: “I am the professor and chair of vascular and endovascular surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Vascular surgery involves medical management and surgical treatment of problems affecting circulation. This includes diseases affecting the aorta, kidneys, and peripheral arterial disease.”
2. Why were you compelled to get involved with the Heart & Stroke Walk?
AE: “Matt and I both encounter patients with heart and vascular disease on a daily basis. Many of the conditions that result from these disease states are preventable. We felt that our active participation with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart & Stroke walk was a way to further engage our community, friends, and industry partners in supporting preventive measures and vital research.”
ME: “We’re both passionate about heart health and prevention. The vast majority of heart and vascular disease is preventable by simple lifestyle modifications.”
3. How does it feel to participate in such a meaningful event?
AE: “It’s an honor to have worked with such a phenomenal team of volunteers, team leads, coaches, and corporate sponsors. Each year, we support the walk, but this year, to be able to proactively engage others, has been truly special.”
ME: “For Angie and I, this is an opportunity to give back to a community that has given us so much. We have lived in Winston-Salem for over 20 years, raised our children here, and feel a strong connection to people in this area. We’re excited to promote healthy living and support research efforts to avoid or treat life-changing diseases.”
4. What advice do you regularly give your patients about heart health?
AE: “Matt and I both encourage our patients to take the first step toward improving health. Whether it’s increasing physical activity, changing dietary habits, or quitting smoking, every little bit helps. Getting started is the hard part, which is why events like this are so important. It’s the inspiration for change.”
ME: “Quit smoking and start exercising.”
5. What’s your favorite part about the walk each year?
AE: “A favorite part is seeing all of those who have been impacted coming together to support the walk. Active engagement and fundraising are the best ways to advance efforts to combat these disease states.”
ME: “Overall the camaraderie and the chance to bring community awareness around the elimination of the leading cause of death and disability in our families and neighbors is the reason we walk.”
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