Have a heart: Annual Heart Walk draws thousands to Myrtle Beach

On Saturday, the American Heart Association's Heart Walk at Market Common's Grand Park in Myrtle Beach attracted around 2,000 walkers full of enthusiasm and heart.

The 3.3 mile walk was a way for participants to raise money to fight heart disease and stroke, two of the deadliest diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.

The event was also a way for walkers to remember those who lost their battle with a cardiovascular disease, as well as those who won the fight.

Jessica Ditrapano was one of them. Her grandfather had two heart attacks and has gone through several surgeries over the years. Ditrapano wasn't alone at the walk, she went with more than 100 of her Phi Sigma Sigma sorority sisters from Coastal Carolina University, who over the past month, have been raising money for the event.

"I think it's good for us to kind of step up and show that we care and we also want to make a difference because we're the future and we just need to show that we, too, care. Maybe if we haven't gone through something like this - we know people who have gone through these things and want to show our support as well," Ditrapano said.

However, Gina Burroughs has gone through it. At the age of 25, Burroughs had started a new weight loss program after she had given birth. The weight loss program required her to get an EKG. Although skeptical about getting an EKG at such a young age, she got one and was grateful she did.

Doctors found a heart defect, known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which can lead to abnormally fast rhythm.

"It's important for everyone to get their heart checked out because you can be at any age and have any kind of heart ailment, such as heart disease. You can have a blockage. You can have a birth defect like me, you can be born with a hole in your heart, there are so many different heart problems out there," Burroughs said.

The goal of this Heart Walk was to raise $250,000. Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. More than 33 percent of all deaths in the United States are linked to it.