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Survivors also support effort to raise funds

The same SCAD survivors who are participating in a study to help doctors learn more are also working to financially support the research.

May 4 was the second annual 5K Walk/Fun Run and SCAD Survivor Reunion at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville.

The walk is to raise funds for research and awareness of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, said Jan Saillard, co-chair of the walk. Saillard’s sister died of a heart attack caused by SCAD in 2011.

Saillard and her sister’s husband founded SCAD Research Inc., which hosts the walk.

With SCAD, an inner layer of a coronary artery splits, according to Blood seeps between the artery layers, forms a blockage and starves the heart muscle. Depending on how fast a diagnoses and treatment can be done, the result of SCAD ranges from chest pain to heart attack to death.

This year, survivor Cheryl Crisman of Morris, who suffered a heart attack caused by SCAD in 200, when she was 38-years-old, ran the reunion portion of the event for the survivors.

“This year, there were 37 of us together (for the reunion),” said Crisman. “It’s been really rewarding to get to see and hear people who have survived. We have all made really good friends who get it.”

The walk raised about $20,000 this year, with more than 160 walkers, said Saillard, and they had survivors attend from as far away as Sweden.

The money raised will go toward research and raising awareness.

“Not a lot is known about SCAD, so this is an opportunity to educate people about what can lead to this type of heart attack,” said Saillard.

Also in attendance at the walk were lead researchers of the Mayo Clinic SCAD studies, cardiologists Dr. Sharonne Hayes and Dr. Marysia Tweet, who, at a luncheon following the walk, gave an update on the research.

Plans for next year’s event are still under way, but it is expected to be in May 2014.

For more information on SCAD, to donate, or to learn more about the walk, visit

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