These steps make a big difference. At the 2023 Erie Heart Walk, emceed by Erie News Now Eva Mastromatteo, people gathered together to raise awareness and support those close to them.  

Geo is in second grade, and was diagnosed eight years ago with a congenital heart defect.

"We’re here with family, and friends. And we're here to have fun" Geo said.

His sister beside him added on, "And we're going to have fun, and Geo, got heart surgery, so that's why we're here," Raena said.    

His mom Sierra Pollock said walks like these make a difference, and Geo had many supporters come for the walk.  

"It's very important to get that awareness out there. So people are more aware of how much this affects more people than we realize. . . We have a bunch of people who just adore him that came with us together, to be with us today," Pollock said. 

Chief of Cardiac Surgery at UPMC Hamot Dr. Francis Ferdinand said that not only does the event raise funds for the American Heart Association and help people understand more about heart health, but it also shows one way to keep the heart healthy.  

 “It's a great example of getting people out to walk. It's one of the most useful exercises you can do, and you don't need any fancy equipment. See, I wore, kind of regular clothes today. To highlight that you don't have to be in a gym outfit or membership, you can just go out for a walk,” Ferdinand said.