VERSAILLES — In an effort to raise awareness and funds to help make tests more accessible for those affected by heart disease, Midmark Corporation’s Feel the H.E.A.T. Wellness Committee, in collaboration with the Menke family, are hosting 4 Miles For Heart and Health run/walk in October.
The idea for the event came after Bob Menke, an electrical engineer at Midmark Corporation, died suddenly on Aug. 15, 2015 from heart disease, which went undiagnosed.
“When he passed away just about a year ago we found out that a few months later, we heard, that they (Midmark) were thinking about doing some kind of an event to not only honor him but to make others aware of things that perhaps they can do maybe to help prevent what happened to him,” said Tom Menke, Bob’s father. “He had been a healthy individual and he had ran in 5k’s before and exercised on a regular basis, did all the normal-type testing that you do for maintenance for your health and there was no symptoms, no warnings, it was a complete surprise to everybody.”
Mitch Eiting, Midmark Corporation global community relations manager, said Midmark Corporation’s Feel the H.E.A.T. Wellness Committee is an employee engagement committee that tries to keep employees engaged in different activities. Each year, the company hosts an event to benefit different organizations.
“This year, we wanted to do something for Bob,” Eiting said.
The morning of Aug. 15, 2015, Bob, who was relatively healthy and had no family history of heart disease, went for a run. When he came back to his home, he collapsed in front of the house.
“They said even if he had collapsed in the emergency room they wouldn’t have been able to save him,” said Erica Menke, Bob’s wife. “He had a 99 percent blockage in his left artery, which they call the widow maker, and a 75 percent blockage in his right artery. He just collapsed in front of our house and was gone so I just want to bring more awareness to that.”
Bob had just celebrated his 10th year at Midmark Corporation.
“It can happen to anyone,” Erica said. “It’s not always women who are affected by heart disease, it’s not always older people, it can happen to a healthy 38 year old man who exercises and eats healthy.
The goal of the event is to raise awareness and funds to help make coronary calcium scans more accessible to everyone.
“It’s a simple, relatively inexpensive test, most people don’t even know that test is out there,” Erica said. “We had no idea it was out there until after he died.”
Coronary calcium scans are tests used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. The scan uses a special X-ray test called computed tomography to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart.
Tom said the Menke family is also working with the Wayne Hospital Health Foundation, with the assistance of Brookside Laboratories, Inc. in New Bremen, Ohio, to start a fund to help subsidize some of the testing costs.
“After something sudden like this happens to somebody at such a young age it’s obviously devastating to parents, spouses, children and I have no question that if Bob had opportunity to be able to contribute to a way to prevent this type of tragedy from happening to others he would be 100 percent for that,” he said. “Barbara and I, as parents, have known him from birth, as long as anybody and I can speak with assurance that this would be something he would smilingly approve of. And he would want to make it about health awareness, not about himself, he wouldn’t want to draw attention to himself. Barbara and I would like to express our appreciation to the Wayne Hospital Foundation and to Midmark. Midmark has been living up to their world class company status in the way that they have been good to Bob’s memory.”
The event will take place at 10 a.m. on October 15 at Midmark Corporation and will end at the Winery at Versailles. Transportation will be provided back to Midmark. The cost is $30 to register.
To register or donate, visit runsignup.com/4mile4heart.