Warner Robins man to run NYC Marathon for heart charity | News
A Warner Robins man is getting his heart pumping in the name of aortic health and his late father.
He sees the race as a way to prevent the heart condition, and remember a man who saw service as the blood of life.
Ealer is not a newcomer to marathons. He's run eight of them.
He's constantly training, but he could not prepare himself for his father's sudden illness.
"It was just a hammer blow to the whole family," said Ealer.
A year ago his father, George Ealer, 73, suffered an aortic dissection.
"I didn't know what it was," Tim Ealer said.
It's a ripping of the main vessel in the heart, that ended up tearing George away from his family.
George Ealer's family described him as a physically fit man who worked out three to four times a week.
George's wife, Mary, says there was no warning, before the illness.
Her husband competed each year in the Golden Olympics. George was an avid organizer of numerous blood drives at Christ United Methodist Church in Warner Robins.
Tim Ealer said, "140 pints is a lot. Before he got involved, they were probably getting half that or less."
He said his dad did it to save lives. In the end, donated blood prolonged his. Tim said, "He used about 20 pints of blood."
That blood kept George alive a month after the aortic dissection. It was long enough for Tim to tell his father the actor, John Ritter, died of the same thing. There was a foundation in his name.
Tim said, "I wanted to get involved, because I knew how important it was."
He found a vehicle he knew well, his running shoes, to spread the message. The Ritter Foundation sponsors a team to run the New York City Marathon.
Tim said, "I'm trying to make some good from bad."
He sees his perseverance as a path to the ailment's prevention. Early detection can be a road block to aortic dissection.
"I don't want to this to happen to somebody else," he said.
He's sure the legacy of saving lives is one his father wants him to carry on.
Ealer is trying to raise $10,000 for the Ritter Foundation
. He's a little less than halfway to his goal, that he intends to reach by the Marathon date.
According to the Ritter Foundation, more than 15,000 people in the U.S. die from aortic dissections each year.