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Heart of the Alps Trek for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness


Into the Heart of the Alps for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness

This summer, Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Survivor Michele Straube, is embarking on an exciting adventure to raise awareness of this common and debilitating heart disease.  Her goal is to raise awareness of AFib and to help raise funds for researchers to develop better AFib treatments.   Michele will hike the 1,500 mile Via Alpina over the course of the next four summers, starting in Monaco and ending in Slovenia.  She will be accompanied by her husband Bob Adler for the entire journey, and by a shifting cast of friends and family – and potentially other AFib survivors – for portions of the trip. Her journey is a platform for promoting AFib education and fundraising opportunities for AFib Research.

The Via Alpina is a series of trails crossing the heart of the Alps through eight countries.  The hiking involves significant elevation gain, averaging 3,000 feet up and down per day.

The main Via Alpina trail (the red trail) is approximately 1500 miles long, broken into 161 stages (each stage is equivalent to a day’s hiking). The tentative schedule is as follows (subject to change based on actual speed, route selection, and personal scheduling flexibility):

  • Summer 2011 (3 weeks) – Monaco, France and one day in Italy
  • Summer 2012 (5-6 weeks) – France, Switzerland and Germany
  • Summer 2013 (5-6 weeks) – Germany, Austria and Italy
  • Summer 2014 (5-6 weeks) – Italy and Slovenia

via alpina map

AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder, affecting between 4-6 million in the U.S. alone.  Studies have predicted that as many as 20 million American adults will have AFib by 2050. While many individuals with AFib have debilitating symptoms including palpitations, extreme fatigue and dizziness, many others remain undiagnosed because they do not experience these symptoms consistently enough to recognize that they are a serious problem.  In addition to symptoms, for those who have them, AFib carries a five-fold increased risk of stroke. This is a particular concern for the many undiagnosed AFib sufferers out there who don’t even know they are at risk.

The CARMA Center is the founding sponsor of this awareness campaign.

CARMA Center

Special thanks to Black Diamond for donating equipment.

Black Diamond

Info on the Via Alpina:


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Heart of the Alps Trek for Atrial Fibrillation