Restaurant owner, heart patient encourages others to be heart aware

Restaurant owner, heart patient encourages others to be heart aware

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Ron Savell found out just five weeks ago that he probably should be dead, and just three weeks ago, he had quadruple bypass heart surgery.

“I’ve been a runner my whole life, active in business and my personal life,” he said. “I’ve never gotten winded. Never any pain, never anything. I went to that appointment just knowing that nothing was wrong, but peace of mind and curiosity is what drove me, and I was not expecting the news I got. I can promise that. Neither did my doctor. He was just as surprised as I was.”

Savell, the owner of Patio 44 and Mugshots, was guest speaker at the Mississippi Power Heart Walk rally on Thursday.

It’s emotional for someone who doesn't get that way often.

“The look on his face was like he'd seen a ghost,” he said to the crowd. “And he told me that I had to have a bypass at 43 years old.”

Anthony Wilson is CEO of Mississippi Power and 2019 Gulf Coast Heart Walk.

“He’s had a significant heart issue that he’s dealt with, and his story about that is compelling,” Wilson said. “You look at Ron and you say, ‘Well, if that can happen to Ron, it can happen to anybody.’ You have to really pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you.”

What makes Savell’s story even more compelling is what kept pushing him to get checked out, even though he showed no signs of problems.

He knew nothing about his health history.

“I did not,” Savell. “I was adopted, which has never been an issue for me. I have wonderful parents, but, yeah, I just lacked that family history that I was looking for, and it led me to look for them and have since found. That encouraged me to go back to the doctor.”

What he found scared him.

“Heart disease ran deep in my birth father’s family,” Savell said. “We’re talking seven or eight immediate members of the family that had either died or had bypass surgery because of heart disease.”

His goal is simple.

“Hopefully to encourage people to come out and even if they think they’re fine, go get a physical, get your normal checkups, check on some things that you wouldn’t normally check," he said. "When you’re young, you don’t really care. But once you have kids, you want to be around for as long as possible for them, and I’m glad I did this.”

The annual Gulf Coast Heart Walk will be at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 28 at Jones Park in Gulfport.

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