Staying Fit at the Y Helped David Salvas
Get Approved for Heart Surgery
YMCA member David Salvas is a very accomplished athlete. He has run more than 100 marathons since 1985, has biked four 100-mile bike rides in support of cancer research, has climbed all of the 4,000 foot mountains in New Hampshire, and carried the Olympic torch for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta! In September he will be honored with the Anthony “Tony” Urban Award by NHIAA (New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NH high school governing body.) Anthony “Tony” Urban Award: Established in 2019, the Anthony “Tony” Urban Award is given for meritorious service to an “unsung hero” who embodies the ideals of the NHIAA in service to the NH student-athletes and in support of the best opportunities for the student-athlete to compete under and within. In memory of Anthony “Tony” Urban and all that he was.
You may recognize David from the Merrimack Y. He works out nearly daily at the Y, starting at 7:30am.
All of this physical fitness came into play when he needed a heart surgery. David was initially rejected for surgery to close a hole in his heart. Three years ago David was struck by a truck when riding his bike. Brain scans following his accident indicated that he had had a stroke and had a hole in his heart. “I was born with a hole in my heart. Apparently everyone has this at birth, and after about a month these normally close on their own. Mine did not. I was referred to a cardiologist who basically said ‘we don’t fix this on old people.’ (David will turn 74 in August.) What’s with that? We are expendable?,” David said. He conferred with another cardiologist who acknowledged David’s strong physical state. “You’ve done 100 marathons. You go to the gym daily for two to three hours. You are in good shape,” he said. David ultimately suffered three mini strokes and having this surgery was important. “The hole was just big enough to let a blood clot through, causing these mini strokes,” he said.
David had the heart procedure on April 28 and this doctor shared he was good to go to continue his rigorous physical fitness regimen.
At the Y, David likes the ‘diverse activities’ he can participate in: indoor running, swimming, the free weights, elliptical machines, the stationery bikes. “I like working out at the Y. I get to talk to people on the track. I have met a lot of close friends here. And a bunch have donated toward my bike ride coming up. David is biking in his fifth Prouty event on July 15. He has personally raised $11,000 for this initiative, and overall the event should raise $9 million. (The Prouty is the signature event of the Friends of Dartmouth Cancer Center. All donations raised through The Prouty will be used by the Director of Dartmouth Cancer Center to advance cancer research, improve cancer treatment protocols, develop strategies for cancer prevention, provide supportive services for patients with cancer and their families, and facilitate otherwise unfunded endeavors in cancer research, education, and translation of research from science to patients.)
David retired from BAE Systems as a Principle Engineer when he turned age 62. “My retirement present to myself was to run the length of the state of New Hampshire, from Canada to Massachusetts. My friends daughter passed away from leukemia, and through this run I raised funds for cancer research. The next year I ran from Vermont to the ocean. The following year I ran down Massachusetts. The year after that I ran across Connecticut.
David’s retirement calendar is full! Two days a week he bike rides with a group of friends for 20 to 25 miles. He drives veterans to their medical appointments at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Manchester. He coaches adult marathoners for the Gate City Striders. He also coaches high school Cross Country for Souhegan high school. He volunteers for the Boston Athletic Association during Boston Marathon expo weekend. He also loves time with his four grandchildren.
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