It's rather ironic that Al Hoskins volunteers at Top Performance, because two years ago, his heart was working at anything but top performance. "When told that I may have less than a week," Hoskins remembered, "it was mortifying."
The Gulfport man has survived a heart attack, heart bypass surgery, an artificial heart, and on April 2, 2001, a heart transplant. "I'm still here to see my wife, my daughter, my grandson," he said, right before he did another car inspection. "I got to see him go to school. And I hope to see him get married one day."
The local American Heart Association chapter wants to help people just like Al Hoskins. The agency asked WLOX and the Sun Herald to take part in a healthy heart challenge, and publicize it through the media.
This week, we learned about blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A nurse explained cholesterol to one of the WLOX team members. "Red meat is high, dairy products are high," she said. "You should have less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day in your diet."
So you know, if you eat two eggs, you'll digest almost 600 mg of cholesterol.
A second team health test will be done in August, just before the American Heart Walk. Doctors will compare results to see which media members have done the most to protect their hearts.
Al Hoskins is hoping that the media participation will alert everybody to the threat that heart disease has become. "Because I've had a transplant doesn't mean I'm out of the woods," he said. "But it does give me a new lease on life."