Dr. Arie Szatkowski started Columbia Medical School only two weeks after his 47-year-old father, also a doctor, died of heart issues.
After volunteering to take part in a class demonstration, his professors warned him they found a huge hole in his heart.
He was 23 at the time.
"Had I not known about that, I probably would have had heart failure and rhythm problems right around this age now," said Szatkowski.
MORE: REGISTER FOR THE DeSOTO HEART WALK
Ever since then he's been on a mission to take care of himself by eating right and always exercising.
His awareness even extends to those he doesn't know.
He says his fellow Mid-Southerners remind him of his dad, surrounded by bad health habits. "My purpose here is to try and raise awareness and to get folks in the South to make a change; change their health."
But the doctor isn't just shaming people about their choices. He's being proactive, serving as one of the faces of the DeSoto Heart Walk happening Oct. 13 at Snowden Grove Park in Southaven.
The event will offer a free family YMCA gym membership to one lucky attendee.
"So that you and your family can continue to work on your health," he said.
The DeSoto Heart Walk is free, but if you do participate, a donation is encouraged.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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