Published: Nov 05, 2011 7:14 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 06, 2011 7:27 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Exactly eleven years ago, Carl Fernstrom was at home when he went into sudden cardiac arrest. His wife rushed him to the hospital and because of modern technology, his cardiologist was able to make his heart beat again, saving his life.
"It brings a lot of meaning to every day. I have my son and my daughter and it is a wonderful thing," Fernstrom said.
While research and advancements in technology have drastically improved the survival rate, 865,000 Americans still die from cardiovascular related disease every year.
Saturday's Collier Heart Walk focused on educating participants on how to take control of their risk.
"Check with your doctor and get a thorough evaluation and screening and make sure that you're doing all you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease," said cardiologist Dr. Ronald Levine.
The WINK News Now this morning team led the event... as nearly 4,000 walkers hit the pavement.
In the center of it all was giant heart. Participants were able to write who they were walking for and what the event meant to them.
"Unfortunately because this has affected one out of every two people we all know someone involved so I'd say almost every one here knows someone involved or you see the red hats around here.. that indicates someone who's a survivor of heart disease," said Collier Heart Walk co-chair John Clark.
The fundraising goal for the day was $365,000.
With nearly 4,000 walkers, organizers say they nearly surpassed the goal before the walk even started.
If you missed today's event you can still participate in the Lee county heart walk on December 10th.