The walk began after the good friend of a Phi Sigma Pi brother, Karen Decker, passed away from postpartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), a rare heart disease that affects new mothers. Karen was only 22 years old and left behind her six-week-old daughter, Hannah.
In 2003, the “Walk for Hannah” was organized to raise money for Karen Decker’s family. Today, the event is now known as “Karen’s Walk” and the money raised goes toward the Karen Decker Cardiomyopathy Fund, which supports cardiomyopathy and heart failure research at the University of Rochester Medical Center. As of 2010, $21,500 has been raised for this cause.
Along with raising money for research, Karen’s Walk also strives to raise awareness of cardiomyopathy (heart failure) and the importance of healthy living. Cardiomyopathy is a disease that is unknown to many, but its effects can be tragic if it is not diagnosed early. Phi Sigma Pi hopes to encourage both the broader RIT and Rochester community to participate in the 5K run and live a healthy and active lifestyle.