DEAR ABBY: Father's Day is coming soon, and with it comes the challenge of selecting a special gift for Dad. I would like to offer a suggestion: Schedule him for a medical exam to determine his risk for heart attack and stroke -- truly a gift of love and hope.
I know from personal experience how important that exam can be. My grandfather died at 76 of his second stroke (after my mother had been his caretaker for nine years). And I am a dad who had heart bypass surgery 18 years ago, and an angioplasty this spring to widen narrowing arteries near my heart.
I have suffered and watched others suffer. I have lost and watched others lose. I have seen the fear, dread and uncertainty of those who live with someone who has heart disease or stroke.
But there's good news: Although diseases of the heart are the nation's No. 1 killer and stroke is No. 3, for men and women alike, THEY'RE NOT INEVITABLE. Lifestyle changes -- diet, exercise, etc. -- can eliminate some risks; medical treatment can control others.
So, for the sake of Dad's health, please schedule that appointment. It's a loving gift that the entire family will appreciate. -- LARRY SADWIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
DEAR LARRY: While your gift idea may not be traditional, thank you for a heartfelt suggestion. And what better gift can a husband and father give to his family than peace of mind?