We have lost a treasure in the passing of American Heart Association Regional Director Gina Chapman.

Gina was known and loved by thousands, serving as regional director since 2010.

Gina passed away Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ironically she was the Director of Special Events for the American Cancer Society prior to joining the American Heart Association.

During the course of her battle against cancer, she also suffered a stroke.  She was able to recover from the effects of the stroke, and when she spoke to others as she often did about fighting back, it was from her personal experience.

Under Gina's leadership, the Southern Tier Heart Walk raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit education programs, advocacy and research into preventing and recovering from heart disease and stroke.

Thousands have  participated in the annual event. Along with the Heart Walk, Gina oversaw the "Wear Red" campaign every February, which helped raise awareness among women in the fight against heart disease.

Through all of her struggles, Gina's positive outlook and attitude was an inspiration to anyone she met. To see her and speak with her you would never know what she was going through.

She inspired countless others as they also battled back from heart disease, cancer or other issues. She never talked about her own health, but instead was only concerned with yours.

Gina appeared on numerous radio and television programs to promote the American Heart Association. She brightened every room and every heart touched. Today, our hearts are broken.

Viewing hours are this Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 with Mass to follow at Our Lady of Sorrows, 801 Main Street in Vestal.

WNBF News/ Roger Neel Photo