Furniture maker Jim Marchetta had his first heart attack at 31 and underwent angioplasty. In February, Marchetta, now 38, had open heart surgery--a five-way bypass.
"I never thought I'd have open heart surgery at 38," said Marchetta, married and the father of four children. "The frightening thing is if I didn't go to my cardiologist, a heart attack could have been fatal. The doctors saved my life."
Marchetta will be the guest speaker at the Anaheim division of the American Heart Assn.'s fund-raising dinner Thursday at the Anaheim Marriott.
The event, "Your Heart's in the Right Place," is open to the public and will honor Anaheim hospitals that offer prevention and treatment programs for heart disease and stroke.
Marchetta, whose grandfather and father also suffered from heart disease and had open heart surgery, said he never thought that he would be prone to it as well. At the event, he will speak to the fact that heart disease does not affect just older people.
"It's no longer an old man's disease," he said. "It definitely can happen. You're going to hear about a lot more younger people having heart disease because of bad eating habits and no exercise."
Carolyn Griebe, Anaheim division board president, said the goal is to raise $30,000 from the event.
"It's our biggest fund-raiser of the year and [the money] goes to support research and education that benefits us here in Anaheim," Griebe said.
Also honored at the event will be retired board members Mel Miller, Orange National Bank president, and Battalion Chief Bob Young of the Anaheim Fire Department as the first inductees into the Division's Honorary Lifetime Membership roster.
Tickets are $40 a person, including dinner and entertainment. Reservations: (714) 856-3555.