ST. GEORGE — A 5K walk and run on Saturday will start at 11 a.m. at the Crosby Family Confluence Park, 1850 S. Convention Center Drive in St. George, in support of former Idaho State University and Dixie State University student, and soccer athlete, Ashley Irvin, who at age 24, thought a new heart was the last thing she would be waiting for.
Irvin was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy when her heart became enlarged in 2009, which progressively led to a stroke, multiple gastrointestinal bleeding, cauterizing of 65 arterial venous malformations, and having a left ventricular assist device installed in her chest.
Accoring to Irvin’s blog, she was playing soccer at Idaho State University when she thought she was suffering from “sports asthma” until she realized the inhaler failed to make her condition better and an X-ray confirmed that her heart became enlarged.
Overtime, Irvin lost her ability to participate in sports without losing her breath and overworking her heart, she said in her blog.
“The hardest part of this new journey for me wasn’t the new device in my chest, but the realization that soccer was not in my future,” she wrote. “Everything I had ever done up until this point was Soccer, Soccer, Soccer. All I wanted to do was play Soccer and not only could I not play, but according to the Athletic Director I couldn’t even practice with my team.”
In the years following the first incident, Irvin transferred to Dixie State University and was accepted into the physical therapy program, but her heart failure continued and eventually led to a stroke. It was after that experience that she has continually worked with the Health Failure Clinic at the Intermountain Health Care hospital in Salt Lake City, according to her blog.
Irvin currently remains in Salt Lake City awaiting a heart to come available.
Her classmates Sabrina Higley and Megan Mathis worked with one of their instructors, who participates in triathlons, to bring financial support by organizing a 5K for Irvin.
“I started seeing information on Facebook from her mom about what was going on and I wanted to help,” Higly said. We just want to get the word out and we thought it would be cool to do a 5k.”
The 5K walk and run will begin at 11 a.m. and is open to everyone of all ages, and dogs are welcome too, Higley said. Dog tags will be available for purchase to those who bring their four-legged friends, she said. All donations and registration fees will go to support Irvin with her medical expenses.
Following the run and walk, the Waffle Bliss truck will be available for event attendees to buy food, and a winner of raffle with many prizes will also be chosen.
Irvin said she is grateful and humbled by all who are willing to support her through the event. She will not be present at the 5K, she said, as she must be available in Salt Lake City if a heart becomes available for transplant.
“I’m speechless knowing that this event has been organized to help me,” Irvin said. “I am so thankful for the sponsors who have been helping make this possible.”
- What: Dash4Ash 5K walk and run
- Where: Crosby Family Confluence Park, 2000 S. Convention Center Drive in St. George
- When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
- Registration: Open until 11:59 p.m. on Friday here; or at the event, goody bags available where supplies last
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