The morning of Saturday, May 7, Shawn and Amy Fowler, of Lake Ozark, and their kids — Haley, 18; Addison, 15; and Xavier, 11 — will do something together that gives all of them pride.
“Not only is it for a good cause, but it is also a challenge for you,” Haley said.
The family will make their fourth appearance in the Lake Regional Fun Run/Walk. This annual 5K benefits Lake Regional Cardiopulmonary Rehab, helping to purchase equipment and fund continuous education for staff.
“It’s a good way to exercise!” Xavier said of the 5K. “After the race, I feel relieved, happy and proud of myself that I did it.”
“Other kids should encourage their family and friends to do it because you give back to people in need, and it is a good opportunity for family bonding,” Addison said. “I am proud and happy that I’m helping out people like my dad.”
The Fowlers first entered the race in 2017, when Shawn was himself a cardiopulmonary rehab patient. At age 42, he needed an emergency stent to treat a 95% blockage in his left anterior descending artery, nicknamed the “widow-maker” because blockages in that artery tend to be deadly.
“I knew something wasn’t right but still did not really want to seek help,” Shawn said. “I thought they were just going to tell me that I was old and out of shape, but the next morning, I was getting a stent.”
Lake Regional Cardiopulmonary Rehab helped him recover and improve his fitness.
“It was a good way to measure my reactions and stress levels,” he said. “It opened my eyes to target ranges, limits and exercises that would benefit me.”
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation provides a safe environment for heart patients to build their strength, stamina and self-confidence. An exercise physiologist designs an exercise program, and nurses and other staff continuously monitor heart rate and blood pressure as patients work out. A doctor reviews the patient’s performance and adjusts the plan as needed. Patients also receive education from a dietitian and gain support to make needed lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking.
“Shawn’s heart attack at 42 was a wakeup call for both of us,” Amy said. “We realized that we needed to do a better job taking care of ourselves with both diet and exercise.”
Starting out, Shawn could not jog without getting to a dangerously high heart rate. But he was determined to get stronger — and he set completing the 5K as a goal.
“I see it as a way to celebrate life, fitness and awareness,” he said.
The Lake Regional Fun Run/Walk, held at Lake Regional Hospital, is for all members of the family, with medals awarded in seven age divisions ranging from 12 and under to 60 and older.
The Fowlers have collected several medals through the years — but, they said, the memories they’ve made are better.
“People are friendly, and it’s fun,” Addison said.
“It’s a very supportive environment, very welcoming,” Haley said. “Afterwards there are pancakes, and all the runners get to eat.”
“There is no stress to win a medal or run a record pace,” Shawn said. “The fellowship is great.”
“I feel good that I’m helping someone who needs help getting back to themselves,” Xavier said.
Register Now for T-shirt
Lake Regional Fun Run/Walk check-in begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in parking lot A in front of the hospital’s main entrance. The 5K begins at 8 a.m. Registering on or before Friday, April 22, guarantees participants a tech T-shirt. Register now at lakeregional.com/FunRun or by calling Lake Regional Public Relations at 573.348.8222.
Lake Regional’s cardiopulmonary program is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The program has three phases. Phase I, II and III services are available at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach. Phase II and III services also are available at Lake Regional’s Cardiac Rehab clinics in Eldon and Laurie. For more information, call 573.302.2280 or visit lakeregional.com/HeartCare.