Chris Barritt, 62, of Carroll County, Maryland, distinctly remembers what he was doing on April 5, 2011. That’s because he was having open heart surgery at Adventist HealthCare Washington Hospital that removed a life-threatening tumor from his heart.

“I just passed the five-year anniversary since my surgery,” said Barritt. “It’s one of those dates that’s set in my mind.”

Reaching the five-year mark since heart surgery isn’t the only milestone Barritt has achieved lately. In July, Barritt completed his fourth Sprint Triathlon, which includes a 400-meter swim, 14-mile bike ride and a 5K run.

View More: the Odds

Just a couple of months ago, Barritt was not sure if he would even be able to compete in the triathlon due to shoulder and knee injuries. But just like his heart surgery, he didn’t let his injuries slow him down.

As his shoulder and knee healed, Barritt continued training as best he could and registered for the triathlon just days before the race. Despite his healing injuries, Barritt placed 5th out of 11 men, ages 60-64 and 151st out of 248 overall.

Barritt has long had a history of defying the odds – braving an ambitious cross-country motorcycle ride from his home in Maryland through Canada, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire and Vermont just months after his heart surgery.

Making Every Beat Count

While he’s scaled back on the motorcycle riding these days, Barritt has plenty to keep him active, including swimming at the gym, doing chores with his wife, volunteering in his community and watching after four young grandkids.

Barritt says he is grateful to the heart experts at Washington Adventist Hospital for giving him the chance to ride motorcycles, finish triathlons and play with his grandkids – all without ever missing a beat.

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