GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - A thousand people came out Saturday to participate in the Grand Rapids Heart Walk. The walk helps raise money to fight heart disease, and is one of the largest fund-raisers for the American Heart Association.
13-year old Devon Saliers participated in the walk this year despite being released from the hospital less than a month ago. Saliers received a new heart in August and is grateful to be alive and able to help with the event.
"I'd just like to help the American Heart Association raise money for all the kids that have a heart defect and strokes and to find research to help other kids," he said.
Devon was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He had his first surgery when he was just 5 days old, a second 6 months later and another when he was 1 1/2 years-old.
Devon lived a pretty normal life until December when his family learned he needed a new heart. After a long wait and battle to stay alive he got the heart transplant this summer. His family says the American Heart Association has provided them with support and resources through it all.
The family has participated in the Walk ever since Devon was born. Jonathan Saliers, Devon's dad, says it is important to the family to help raise awareness and support as well as money.