Lehigh Valley

Young ambassador leads Lehigh Valley Heart Walk

VIDEO Young ambassador leads Lehigh...

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - On Sunday, more than 1,500 people participated in the Lehigh Valley Heart Walk, something that's near and dear to their hearts.

"It was awesome we had one of our biggest turn outs here at ArtsQuest. Everyone's story is a little bit unique, a little bit different. So it's really great to hear different families and so many of them become friends and bond over this experience," said Sara Dickey of the American Heart Association.

It's an experience that means a lot for the Hoffman family of Emmaus. Ryder Hoffman is a heart hero and as the child ambassador for this year's heart walk, he led the way of the walk Sunday. Ryder is just six years old and is a congenital heart defect survivor.

"It's just been a great day to celebrate our son with the people who mean the most to us," says Jessica Hoffman.

Ryder's Warrior's were out in full effect. More than 100 people were on his team for the Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association.

"It was a very emotional day. It's always good to hang out with more heart people and heart families," said Jonathan Hoffman.

Jessica Hoffman said she and her husband learned about Ryder's heart defect before he was born. She said he had his first surgery at just three months of age. The road to recovery is still long and Ryder will likely have another major operation in a few years.

Ryder was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel's son has the same condition.

"It is always difficult to share our story but it is so important to raise awareness and get the word out," says Jessica Hoffman.

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