Lehigh Valley

100 people join Ryder's warriors to raise awareness at Lehigh Valley heart walk

Over a 1,000 are expected to attend heart walk

100 people join Ryder's warriors

EMMAUS, Pa - More than a thousand people are expected to attend the Lehigh valley's annual heart walk next weekend.

This year's young heart walk ambassador is hoping to help raise awareness for the cause.

He had his first open heart surgery at just 3 months old and six years later Ryder Hoffman is just like any other first grader.

"Ryder's life is pretty much a normal kid who has a zipper on his chest," said father,  Jonathan Hoffman.

Next week, the Hoffman's will help kick off the annual Lehigh Valley heart walk.

A fundraiser for the American Heart Association, the event helps raise awareness and money to find cures for congenital heart conditions like Ryder's.

"It feels amazing to have this opportunity for our son after a very long journey with his heart health, fantastic to have a high moment in our story," added mother, Jessica Hoffman.

Jessica Hoffman says she and her husband learned about Ryder's heart defect before he was born. She says after his first surgery the road to recovery was long and Ryder will likely have to have another major operation in a few years.

"The journey is something difficult to describe to someone who hasn't lived it. It was terrifying, scary, so many unknown," said Jessica.

The Hoffman's say they were honored Ryder was chosen to be the child ambassador for this year's heart walk where a thousand people are expected to participate.

"Stories like Ryder's, they're great spokesman for our organization. They've done such a tremendous amount for us this year," said Sara Dickey, spokesperson with the American Heart Association.

The Hoffman's say they have been working since June to assemble nearly 100 people to walk on team 'Ryder's warriors' and help a cause that is literally near and dear to their hearts.

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