Hoop stars Kayla Burt and Joy Hollingsworth team in charity strut for heart disease Thursday

Ran into Kayla Burt recently…dishing my Mexican entree at Cactus in South Lake Union. It was her second day as a server, reducing my introduction of her to my BFF as a former basketball star at Washington to “and now I’m a waitress” quip. “So? I’m sure that’s not all you’re up to, anyway,” I responded. I was right. Burt rattled off so many occupations and further education she’s juggling I can’t remember them all, except she’s still a certified EMT. She’s also still active in raising awareness for heart disease. In 2002, Burt suffered a cardiac arrest at home on New Year’s Eve. She was dead for five minutes, teammates using CPR to help save her life. Burt was fitted with a defibrillator, yet forced to retire from her basketball career in 2006 after an attempt to return in 2004. An Arlington native, Burt is a former Outreach Coordinator at The Hope Heart Institute. The organization partnered with Gene Juarez Salons & Spas to put on an “I Am Hopeful 2013” runway show Thursday at the EMP to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.   The event begins at 7 pm, tickets ranging from $250 for front-row seating to $40 for general admission. However, I’ve glanced over the site and only three tickets remain for the front row and there are 94 tickets remaining for general admission as of 11 am Wednesday. Burt, 31, will be joined on the runway by former Seattle U assistant coach Joy Hollingsworth, who starred at Seattle Prep before playing college hoops at Arizona. Hollingsworth was teammates with Wildcats’ three-time All-Pac-10 C Shawntinice Polk, who died at age 22 from a pulmonary blood clot. Hollingsworth, 29, was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) at age 15. A general manager for the A PLUS Youth Program, Hollingsworth’s most recent episode was in October when she was rushed to the hospital and placed on warfarin, a blood thinner, and another medication to expand her heart valves. She’s not being medicated now, but is having her medical history reviewed.

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