“A Million To 1 Odds I Survived” – John Harrity for Comcast Newsmakers

“A Million To 1 Odds I Survived”

John Harrity shares his story for Comcast Newsmakers on behalf of the American Heart Association.

John Harrity, Co-Chair for the Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K and Fun Walk sits down with Elena Russo to discuss his personal story with heart disease and his strong connection to the American Heart Association and this event.

Watch the full interview here.



Going Global with Attorney Heart Health Advocacy

Going Global with Heart Health Advocacy

Washington Lawyer Magazine features John Harrity, Co-Chair of the Lawyers Have Heart event for the American Heart Association.

When Harrity was asked to co-chair the race on its 30th anniversary in 2020, he thought it would be “a piece of cake.” “This is the easiest one to chair because it’s a big number anniversary,” he recalls thinking. “Then we had the pandemic.”

That did not stop Harrity and others at the AHA from spreading their message about the importance of physical and emotional health, especially during challenging times. The AHA originally planned on canceling the 2020 race, but Harrity had a better idea.

“I thought, ‘It’s always been a Washington, D.C., race. Why don’t we take it out of the D.C. area and not only go national but [also] global with it?’” Harrity says. “My vision for this event was to bring lawyers from around the globe together to focus on this thing that’s the number one killer, heart disease.”


Read the full article here.



Lawyers Have Heart, and It’s Time We Get Serious About Keeping It Healthy

Lawyers Have Heart, and It’s Time We Get Serious About Keeping It Healthy

By John Harrity for the D.C. Bar Blog

My experience with heart disease completely changed not just my outlook on life, but also the trajectory of the patent law firm I co-founded, Harrity & Harrity, LLP in Fairfax, Virginia. For the first 15 years of business, we were exclusively focused on success — hiring the best talent, attracting the best clients, doing the best work. While success is still important, it has moved further down the list. Now, the focus is first and foremost on giving back.

It all started on May 2, 2016, when I played in my regular Monday night basketball game. In a five-minute time span that night, I went from feeling fantastic, which I did almost every minute of every day, to feeling a kind of discomfort that I had never experienced before in my life. I told the guys I needed to go outside for some fresh air; when I got there the discomfort got even worse. That’s when I asked my friends to call 911 and I passed out. As I lay unconscious, my friend Rocky Berndsen called while another friend, James Bennin, started CPR. Their quick actions truly helped save my life.

That night on the basketball court, I experienced the worst type of heart attack you can have. It’s called the widow-maker (for a reason). It was triggered by a blockage of the left main coronary artery that runs down the front of the heart. Hours later, while I was at the hospital, my situation got gravely worse. I experienced bleeding into my lungs, which sent me into respiratory distress and eventually led to multiple organ failure. While I lay unconscious during those first few weeks in the hospital, my body fought off numerous blood clots and infections. My wife was told more than half a dozen times that the chances of me surviving were very slim and to say her goodbyes. In fact, my cardiologist said the odds of me making it through were a million to one.

But what the doctors didn’t realize, what they didn’t know about me, was that I had been training for this event my whole life. I’d been obsessive about exercising seven days a week and following a very strict diet. I was down to nearly 10 percent body fat nearing my 50th birthday. I was obsessed with my health, and this obsessiveness allowed me to survive.

I eventually woke up three weeks after my heart attack, unable to speak or move. But, from the second I opened my eyes and understood what had happened, I was laser focused on two things: getting back to 100 percent and ensuring that I didn’t waste the opportunity for a second chance. I wanted to do good with what time I had left; I wanted to leave the world better than I entered it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the importance and ease of learning CPR. More than 350,000 Americans experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, and only 1 in 10 survives. Even though 911 is frequently called, 60 percent of people do not receive bystander CPR. Hands-only CPR (pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest) has been shown to be as effective in the first few minutes as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest at home, at work, or in public.

While I was in intensive care over the following weeks regaining my ability to speak and move, my twin brother and I had many conversations about giving back. It was in that hospital bed that Harrity 4 Charity, our firm’s philanthropic arm, was born.

To date, Harrity 4 Charity has donated more than $1.5 million, and each year our team devotes more than 1,400 hours to our diversity initiatives and charitable efforts. One of the organizations we support through Harrity 4 Charity is naturally the American Heart Association (AHA) and its Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K & Fun Walk, an annual event for the legal community that has evolved into a staple on Washington, D.C.’s running calendar. Launched in 1991, Lawyers Have Heart attracts more than 6,500 participants of all experience levels and from all walks of life. I love this event because of my love for fitness and exercising, and because it helps save lives. In fact, it was one of my first goals back in 2017, after all that I had been through, to cross the Lawyers Have Heart finish line.

Harrity Firm Tent

To me, Lawyers Have Heart is more than just crossing the finish line. It’s truly a movement for the health and well-being of us all. It’s a way to support the AHA in reaching its mission to eradicate heart disease and stroke and promote cardiovascular education. And if my story can motivate one person to train for the race, live a heart-healthier life, or learn CPR, then it is worth sharing.

To date, Lawyers Have Heart has raised more than $17 million to benefit the AHA. And I am here today because of the more than $4.1 billion invested in research by the AHA. It’s my mission to share this event with as many people as possible — mainly because so many lives depend on it.

Due to the pandemic, the race went virtual — and global — the last two years, with runners and walkers participating from around the world, including England, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Turkey, Chile, and more. Lawyers Have Heart will return as an in-person event on June 11, but you can also run or walk with us from wherever you are. Sign up as a team or individual at LawyersHaveHeartDC.org, or learn how you can support AHA and its mission by emailing ESLawyersHaveHeart@heart.org.

John Harrity, co-founder of Harrity & Harrity, has been involved in the patent field for 20 years. His practice consists primarily of client counseling and preparing and prosecuting patent applications.


John Harrity, Discusses Upcoming Lawyers Have Heart, American Heart Association Fundraiser Event

WashingtonExec’s Rachel Kirkland speaks with John Harrity about the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Fun Walk coming up this weekend, June 11-13. The event is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association and brings back memories of John’s own harrowing experience. In this interview, John recounts the events leading up to his cardiac arrest and why Harrity & Harrity is now so committed to supporting AHA efforts. To participate, visit www.lawyershaveheartdc.org.

Watch the incredibly candid interview below:

To learn more about Harrity’s charity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/harrity4charity.


John Harrity Shares Survival Story to Raise CPR Awareness

Virginia Lawyer Saved by CPR Shares Story to Raise Awareness

By Diane Bernard

FAIRFAX, Va. – A lawyer in Fairfax had a sudden heart attack and was saved by a friend’s knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Next week is National CPR and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week, and now he’s challenging folks to join a fundraiser to support research for these life-saving procedures.

In 2016, John Harrity was a healthy, 49-year-old athlete who followed a strict diet and had no family history of heart disease. Playing in a weekly basketball game, he felt like he couldn’t breathe and suddenly fainted. Harrity had what he described as one of the worst types of cardiac arrest – a so-called “widow-maker.”

“Luckily, that night my friend called 911 immediately, and within seconds of me hitting the ground, they were performing CPR – and that saved my life,” he said. “I mean, it is the reason that I am here today.”

Harrity encouraged people to watch the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR video to learn how to help in a heart-attack emergency. Another way is to participate in the upcoming Washington, D.C., “Lawyers Have Heart” 10-K race. The free event is open to everyone and will be held online the weekend of June 11. More information is online at lawyershaveheartdc.org.

Federal data show heart disease remains the number one killer in the nation and the second-leading cause of death in Virginia. Harrity pointed to his own experience as evidence the chances of survival are double or triple if CPR is performed immediately after cardiac arrest. He noted the urgency behind learning the life-saving technique.

“Seventy percent of out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the home,” he said, “and only about 46% of people who experience an out-of-the-hospital cardiac arrest receive that immediate help that’s needed, including that CPR.”

More than 350,000 Americans have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting each year, and about 90% of those are fatal, according to the American Heart Association.

Click HERE to listen to the newscast on Public News Service.

Join us for the 31st Annual Lawyers Have Heart free virtual event in support of the American Heart Association, the largest organization dedicated to educating the community on heart disease & CPR. Register here.

30 Day Challenge in Support of the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Walk

By Roxana Hoveyda

Will you share your #RUNLHH? Run and walk with us from wherever you are!

30 Day Challenge in Support of the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Walk has Kicked off!

Save the Date to #RUNLHH!

Thousands of people across America are participating in a month of physical activity, culminating in a virtual running and walking event on June 12-14.  The 30-day challenge is encouraging people to stay active and raising crucial funds for the American Heart Association.

Keeping active is central to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  The American Heart Association has embraced the new normal of social distancing, and created a month of challenges that can be undertaken whilst abiding by the current restrictions, designed to help people stay active during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The final challenge will be a virtual running and walking event, where participants will run the 10K or 5K or join a fun walk, completing their route individually and sharing their time on a virtual leader board.  Participants are encouraged to share their experience on social media by using the hashtag #RUNLHH and follow along on social media.

The run and the 30-day challenge are all part of AHA’s annual Lawyers Have Heart event.  Lawyers Have Heart began in 1991 as a running and walking event for the legal community, and has evolved into a staple on DC’s running calendar attracting runners and walkers of all levels of experience and from all walks of life.

Event Co-Chair, John Harrity of Harrity & Harrity, LLP said, “This event has always been about encouraging heart-healthy lifestyles and raising vital funds for education and research.  Now faced with new challenges, here’s a great way to keep active for a month, and for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to “virtually” come together in support of the American Heart Association.  By going virtual, we look forward to welcoming teams and families from around the world!”

The 30-day challenge has a new challenge each day to keep people active, and keep them motivated to live healthier lives whilst living under stay at home orders.  Whether it’s walking 10,000 steps, doing a 30 second plank or preparing a new healthy recipe for dinner, there are new ideas each day leading up to the virtual run.  In addition, there are tips to help raise money for AHA’s life-saving research and education programs.

Harrity adds, “As a survivor myself, the AHA’s mission is more important now than ever. Millions of people are counting on them for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. We need to rally together to raise money for this critical cause.”

Since 1991, the event has raised over $15 million, with this year’s event aiming to raise $1.4 million.  Co-Chairs of the event are Harrity & Harrity LLP’s  Managing Partner, John Harrity, and Controller, Sandra Maxey.

To register for the 30-day challenge, donate, and find out more information, check out the event’s website for all the details www.lawyershaveheartdc.org.

Join Team Harrity! Click here to register!

Follow along through the Facebook page, on Twitter, and on Instagram.  Share your experience using #RUNLHH and #MoveMore!

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity partners pledge to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity & Harrity’s John Harrity and Sandra Maxey Named Co-Chairs of 30th Annual Lawyers Have Heart Race Supporting American Heart Association

WASHINGTON (June 11, 2019) – The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, has selected Harrity & Harrity Managing Partner John Harrity and Controller Sandra Maxey to co-chair the 30th annual Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run & Fun Walk.

“As a survivor of a 2016 ‘widow maker’ heart attack, I am honored and humbled to serve in this leadership position for a cause near and dear to my heart,” said Harrity. “I hope that my personal story helps to underscore the importance of working heart healthy activities into everyday life. Harrity & Harrity continues to support the AHA in our Harrity4Charity philanthropic initiative because of the impact that heart disease has on families across the globe.”

Lawyers Have Heart brings runners and walkers of all ages and experience levels together to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. In 2019, the event raised more than $1 million in support of the AHA’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

“I am honored to serve alongside John as co-chair of the 2020 Lawyers Have Heart race. This year, we hope to raise even more,” added Maxey. “To achieve our goal, we need more law firms, corporations, and the general Washington, D.C. community to join the fight for healthier lives.”

While largely supported by the Washington, D.C. legal and corporate community, Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run & Fun Walk is open to the public, and all are welcome to participate in support of the cause.

Lawyers Have Heart will take place on June 13, 2020, at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown. For more information on the event, visit www.lawyershaveheartdc.org.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is the nation’s leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit heart.org.

Harrity 4 Charity

John Harrity and Sandra Maxey Talk About Lawyers Have Heart on Great Day Washington

On Wednesday, June 6th, John Harrity and Sandra Maxey went on Great Day Washington to talk about Lawyers Have Heart, a premier athletic event in the Washington, D.C. region. The 10K Race, 5K Run, and Fun Walk benefits the American Heart Association. Click HERE to donate until June 28th, 2018.

Career 4

Harrity Participates in Annual “2016 Lawyers Have Heart” 10K Race

Harrity Participates in Annual Lawyers Have Heart 10k Race
The Harrity Team participates in an event to raise money for Lawyers Have Heart

Since 2001, Harrity & Harrity, LLP has participated in the 2016 Lawyers Have Heart 10K race to raise money for the American Heart Association.

To learn more about the American Heart Association click HERE.

To donate to the American Heart Association click HERE.