Sindi Mafu was doing household chores when she started sweating profusely and felt a crushing pain in her chest. She was having a heart attack. According to Sindi, she never imagined a heart attack could happen to a healthy 37-year-old like her. The wife and mother of two toddlers is grateful to be alive and have the chance to see her children grow up.

Richard survived two strokes; the kind caused by a rupture of a weakened blood vessel in his brain. This, he learned, was the result of a ticking time bomb in his body that Richard had been living with for over a decade. He spent more than two months in the hospital, working on regaining his ability to walk and talk.

Sindi and Richard are among the thousands who are participating in the Greater Los Angeles Heart & Stroke Walk to bring attention to heart disease and stroke and raise funds to support the American Heart Association’s mission to save lives from cardiovascular disease, the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide.

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The Heart & Stroke Walk, which takes place on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, is expected to draw thousands of people. The event, sponsored by Optum, UCLA Health, Providence, Keck Medicine of USC and Dignity Health Southern California, includes 3-mile and 1-mile walk route options, a kids zone with giveaways, mariachi music and a survivor lounge where heart disease and stroke survivors will receive a complimentary special baseball cap.

Survivors and their families can also participate in bracelet making and connect with fellow survivors. Leashed dogs are welcome at the walk, and the Pup-arazzi pet photo area offers an opportunity for people to capture fun pictures with their pet. People can register to join the Heart and Stroke Walk at

“I’m passionate about the American Heart Association’s vision of a world where every person has the opportunity for a full, healthy life,” said Janet Rimicci, Senior Director of the UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center at UCLA Health and this year’s chairperson of the Greater Los Angeles Heart and Stroke Walk.

Thousands of people participated in last year’s walk. (Courtesy photo)

“I encourage every Angeleno to join us and take action as a community to better prevent, diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease and give people more time to enjoy life’s precious moments.”

Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of more than 870,000 men, women and children every year. Funds raised at the Heart and Stroke Walk support efforts to improve care and outcomes for heart disease and stroke patients, advocate for stronger public health policies and fund innovative scientific research to improve survival and find cures.

The American Heart Association has invested more than $5 billion in research, resulting in breakthroughs that save and improve countless lives every day, including CPR, the artificial heart valve, cholesterol lowering drugs, stents and microsurgery. The Association is also committed to improving health equity by changing structures, laws and systems that make it difficult for many people to achieve a full and healthy life.

For information about the Los Angeles Heart & Stroke Walk, visit