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Hiker with heart: Stamford man hikes Appalachian Trail after surgery

A Stamford man is proving setbacks are only temporary - hiking rugged terrain despite a major medical incident.

News 12 Staff

Dec 18, 2020, 5:54 PM

Updated 1,280 days ago


A Stamford man is proving setbacks are only temporary - hiking rugged terrain despite a major medical incident.
Mianus River Park in Stamford is Arun Sinha's training grounds.
"I've been coming to this park for a good number of years. For the past 10 years, I've been thinking of climbing Mount Everest," Sinha says.
Sinha was set to finally do it in the fall of 2018. But at a doctor's visit before he left, Sinha flunked a stress test.
The diagnosis - "Multiple blockages in the arteries that feed his heart, such that he was really at significant risk if he were to do something like try to climb Mount Everest," says the chair of cardiovascular surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside Dr. John Puskas.
"In all, I consulted at least 15 doctors. I did not believe it," Sinha says.
Surgery was scheduled at Mount Sinai Morningside, by coincidence, for the day he was supposed to climb to base camp.
"We wanted to give him a bypass operation that would last decades for him and allow him to return to completely normal activity," Puskas says.
Sinha spent five days in the hospital, but his recovery was only just beginning.
"The fifth day I had to walk a little; could not walk 100 steps," he says. "That is the point that I said to myself... I'm really going to change this."
"He began to come back and see me in the office with reports of walking, you know, instead of half a mile a day as we like, Mr. Sinha is walking five miles a day," Puskas says.
Then, this past fall, around the two-year anniversary of his surgery, Sinha walked 100 miles across 26 mountains along the Appalachian Trail.
"When you see the sign, the crossing of Georgia and North Carolina... it feels like you're completely liberated," Sinha says.
"He's been an inspiration to other patients as well," Puskas says.
Sinha says that's part of what kept him going on the trail and off.
Puskas says Sinha shows not all will feel symptoms of heart disease. He stresses regular check-ups are very important.
Once the pandemic is over, Sinha hopes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest.

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