Bill's Story: Why I'll Be at the Heart Walk

Bill and Kathy at the Heart Walk
Bill and his fiance Kathy at the Heart Walk

Bucks County resident, cyclist extraordinaire, and heart transplant recipient Bill Soloway will be joining the Penn Medicine team at the 2016 Heart Walk on Saturday, November 5 at Citizen’s Bank Park.

We took some time to chat with Bill about all kinds of things, but mostly why he’s walking and what he wants everyone to take a few minutes to think about. Check it out!

Q&A with Bill Soloway

Bill, you are walking on Team Penn Medicine in this year’s Heart Walk - Why?

Since my fight with heart disease, heart failure and then a heart transplant in June of 2015, I have been working to raise awareness about heart disease and the importance of organ donation. What better platform to do this than the Philly Heart Walk!

As an organ recipient, I live my second life with a new set of rules and at the top of my priority list is to be a good steward. I was lucky to live through heart disease and can now look back in the rear view mirror and share what I learned. Congestive heart failure, arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy - these diseases can be managed and that is because of advancements that are happening every day. These medical advancements need to continue and it is through fundraisers like the Philly Heart Walk that this happens.

What are some things that you wish everyone knew about heart disease?

Top thing - An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Had I not been eating healthy, biking and in good shape, my story could have had a different ending. I wouldn’t have been as strong as I was throughout treatment and I wouldn’t have recovered from my heart transplant as quickly. There are things that we can ALL do to keep our bodies in the best health possible. It is better to have that conversation with ourselves and make heart health a priority sooner rather than later.

Heart failure can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening. What advice would you give those that are in the beginning stages of heart failure?

There is hope with technology and modern medicine. Your disease can be managed with customized treatment. There are advancements in heart failure treatment every single day. One piece of advice that I have is: do your research and be your own best advocate. Find a heart failure program and team that you are comfortable with have confidence in. Look at the members of the team, their background and credentials. Don’t settle for anything but the best.

You speak often on behalf of the Gift of Life Donor program. Why is this so important to you?

I was given a new chance - a new heart and for that I will be eternally grateful. Had it not been for my donor “checking off the box” on their driver’s license application, I would not be here. Organ donation is something that I am very passionate about. When I first got my driver’s license, it was a no brainer for me. I remember thinking, “Hey, if I’m not here, I want my organs to go to someone else.” I never thought twice about it, but it wasn’t until later in my life that I would understand the importance of what “checking that box” meant. Just think, when you are gone, you have the ability to enhance the lives of 50 others and save the lives of 8. It’s an amazing opportunity and the right thing to do.

About this Blog

The Penn Heart and Vascular blog provides the latest information on heart disease prevention, nutrition and breakthroughs in cardiovascular care.

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