In addition to promoting heart healthy behaviors, the event helped raise $6,000+ for scholarships for local students pursuing careers in healthcare

As one of the nation’s first freestanding cardiology and cardiovascular hospitals, South Texas Health System Heart takes the Valley’s heart health to heart. In addition to helping save lives through the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, STHS Heart is committed to preventing heart issues through community education.

On Saturday, February 26, STHS Heart held its 8th annual Heroes with Heart 5K, aimed at encouraging Valley residents of all ages to get their hearts pumping while educating the community of ways to be heart smart. After being held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic, this year’s 5K returned to the STHS Heart campus and featured the participation of more than 300 runners/walkers and celebrated educators in the community who have survived and thrived with heart disease.

Following the race, STHS Heart leaders handed out first, second and third place trophies in various age categories to those who completed the course ahead of their competitors. During the program, one of this year’s Heroes with Heart STHS Heart Ambassadors Kasie Sauceda shared her family’s struggle with heart disease.

“In our Mexican culture we have this thing where we feel like we need to power through — we don’t want to go to the doctor for any “little” thing,” says Brenda Mata, a middle school teacher at Sgt. William Harrell Middle School in Mercedes who suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 36 back in 2007. “I’m lucky to have survived and recovered, so now I try to encourage others to listen to their bodies when it might be telling them that something is off.”

With heart disease as the number one cause of death for men and women in the U.S. — and especially high among Hispanic populations — STHS Heart encourages the RGV community to prioritize their heart health by maintaining an active lifestyle, nutritious diet and managing stress.

“It’s a simple fact: Embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age can prevent heart disease and lower your risk for a heart attack. The goal of our Heroes with Heart 5K is to remind everyone that you are never too old or too young to begin taking care of your heart,” says Brenda Ivory, Chief Executive Officer, STHS Heart. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Heroes with Heart 5K a tremendous success, and we’re especially grateful to our race ambassadors who have helped inspire the entire community to take great strides toward a healthier lifestyle.” 

Proceeds from this year’s Heroes with Heart 5K will be turned over to the local nonprofit Stars Scholarship Fund, with more than $6,000 raised for scholarships for local students pursuing careers in healthcare.

To learn more about the cardiac care available at STHS Heart, including first-of-its kind programs and procedures,  visit

About South Texas Health System 

South Texas Health System is a multi-facility healthcare system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four acute care facility campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Inpatient and outpatient treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral facility. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only freestanding children’s facility and pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, the region’s only freestanding heart hospital and specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information about the system and its comprehensive services, please visit

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.