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Published on October 02, 2019

A Family with Heart:
Family shows love, support for heart disease survivor at annual walk

Aguirre Family

Heart attack survivor Alejandro Aguirre knows he has a very supportive family but was recently surprised to see just how supportive they are. Although he did not tell them that he and his wife would be participating in Rush Copley Foundation’s 2019 Heart Disease Survivor Breakfast & Walk, they showed up to surprise and walk with him.

Alex, as he is called by family and friends, is an extremely thoughtful and caring father and friend, says son-in-law Kris Jenkins, who, with the help of his wife, Lily, organized the surprise in just a day and a half. “He is extremely selfless and helping others is very important to him.” While having dinner together several nights before the event, Kris and Lily learned that Alex, her father, would be participating in the walk with his wife, Elisa.

“We were all surprised to hear that he would be doing a survivor’s walk, but not very surprised that Alex didn’t say much about it,” Kris said. “His selflessness doesn’t allow him to bring himself much attention.”

By Friday morning, Kris decided, “There was no way Alex was going to walk alone. This family walks together.”

He and Lily immediately began calling family members to explain their plan.  Lily suggested that matching T-shirts would be an excellent touch and started working on that as well. All of the family members wore matching red shirts that they personalized with messages like “The beat goes on” with a heartbeat wave or a simple “We love you.” A total of 27 family members attended, including Alex’s five siblings, 12 nieces and nephews, two daughters, three grandchildren, two sons-in-law and several other in-laws. About half of the family drove in from as far away as Berkeley and Hickory Hills.

“We, as a family, were going to go and support Alex as he has done for us and so many others. We were going to surprise him with our love and unconditional support,” Kris said.

The surprise went off “for the most part” without a hitch. “Alex had a huge smile on his face and gave us all hugs and thanks,” Kris said. “Elisa cried tears of joy immediately upon seeing the whole family.”

“I was very surprised,” Alex said. “Our family is very tight but they sure surprised my wife and me. I felt extremely good knowing that the greatest thing in life is love, and I sure was surrounded by it.”

The heart disease survivor is also very appreciative of the care he received as a patient at Rush Copley.  “Rush Copley hospital, the heart surgeon and the entire nursing staff were fabulous as they gave me another chance at life,” he said. “I thank God for that.”

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