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’Swim for Your Heart Feb 14’ to Raise Awareness and Funds for Heart Health

Crissy Ahmann-Perham has joined "Swim for Your Heart Feb 14" as southern Arizona’s celebrity spokesperson. The Olympic swim champion encourages people of all ages to swim for your heart on February 14 to raise awareness and funds for heart health.


TUCSON, Ariz. – Hundreds here are expected to get wet in pools across the desert to raise awareness and funds for heart health on February 14. As part of a global campaign called “Swim for Your Heart Feb 14,” local organizers welcome people of all ages to participate by doing one or more of the following:

  1. Swim anywhere, anytime, any distance on February 14. If you don’t know how to swim, sign up for lessons and get started. It’s good for your heart.
  2. Attend University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center’s “Healthy Heart” Conference on February 4 from 8 a.m. to noon at DuVal Auditorium, 1501 N. Campbell.  Register by February 1 on line at or call 520-626-2901.
  3. Learn Chest-Compression-Only CPR. This simple technique, perfected by UA Sarver Heart Center, saves lives. Register for the next class on Wednesday, February 8, by calling 520-626-2901.
  4. Make a tax-deductible contribution (a Valentine gift!) of $14 or any amount to UA Foundation/Sarver Heart Center to support research to improve treatment and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest.  Donate online

UA alumna and 1992 Olympic swim champion Crissy Ahmman-Perham has joined the “Swim for Your Heart Feb 14” Southern Arizona campaign as celebrity spokesperson. “I’m thrilled to be involved in this global effort. I hope that everyone will ‘Swim for Your Heart Feb 14’ and take advantage of the educational opportunities UA Sarver Heart Center is offering,” Perham said.
“We are grateful to the entire Arizona swimming community for embracing this important cause which is so dear to, well, all our hearts,’” said Karl B. Kern, MD, co-director of UA Sarver Heart Center.
 About Swim for Your Heart Feb 14
“Swim for Your Heart Feb 14” was initiated in 2011 by members of the international swimming community after losing one of their own, USA Open Water swim champion Fran Crippen, to what was believed to be a cardiac event. The inaugural event included swimmers from the United States, England, Australia, Mexico, Japan and India. This year 23 countries are participating.
After learning about the global campaign, Tucson’s June Hussey made the commitment to bring “Swim for Your Heart Feb 14” to Arizona in 2012. “I’ve personally lost loved ones to untreated, undetected heart disease,” Hussey said. “I’ve also witnessed a fortunate few get a second chance.”
One of those fortunate ones, Hussey explained, is fellow Tucson Masters swimmer, Brian Duffield. After he suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 40, Brian was literally brought back to life by quick-acting swim mates knowledgeable in Chest-Compression-Only CPR and the use of a defibrillator. He was restored to robust health by the medical team from UA Sarver Heart Center. Note that Brian collapsed suddenly when he was out of the swimming pool. Mouth-to-mouth CPR is recommended for drowning victims.
Duffield, who was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine that year, is living proof that swimming is good for your heart. His medical team partially attributed his rapid and full recovery to the strength of his heart and excellent overall conditioning due to years of swimming. He is also living proof that heart disease can go undetected even in seasoned athletes. A lifelong competitive swimmer, Duffield was unaware he had developed a serious blockage in his left anterior descending artery.  Duffield’s story proves that quick action by ordinary folks knowledgeable in simple, life-saving techniques such as Chest-Compression-Only CPR and use of a defibrillator can and does save lives. Duffield and his whole family of swimmers will be swimming for their hearts on February 14.
 “Brian was very lucky,” Hussey said. “Our goal is to raise awareness to save others like him,” she added.


 heart health
 swim for your heart
 Sarver Heart Center
 swimming in Arizona
 Fran Crippen

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