Stroke survivor and City of Tucson stress importance of exercise

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Thousands of people showed up to Reid Park Sunday not only for a workout but also to bring awareness.

“I went to get up from the lounge chair and it left like 200 pounds were on my left leg and there was tingling in my left arm,” said Andrew Karic.

Karic was having a stroke. That was 4 years ago and since then Karic has had to relearn how to walk. Which makes crossing the finish line at the American Heart Association’s annual Heart and Stroke Walk

mean that much more.

“It felt good to be able to walk a mile because... 4 years ago I was walking with a walker,” said Karic.

While Karic says this whole ordeal has been difficult for him and his family, there has been a silver lining.

“Out of all of this came a love of art for me,” he said.

Karic is now a sculptor.

Karic says he never had any major health problems, but since his stroke, he has changed his daily routines to stay healthy.

“It can happen to anyone, you got to exercise," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of 2013, nearly 27% of adults in Pima County were considered obese. Tucson is taking a step to lower that number by making May Fitness Month.

Several agencies across Tucson will be offering free fitness classes.

“I know how important this is, any job that you have to work hard and think hard you have to take time fore yourself, its

not only for you but also your family,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

For a list of free fitness class you can visit

If you want to get involved in Tucson's American Heart Association visit