– For the past two years, Tina Pavlot, the branch manager for M&T Bank at Consumer Square in New Hartford, was part of the group that made Heartbreak Hill less painful than it might have been during America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.
This year, she’s chairing the Heart Telethon, set for Thursday, March 11, from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on WKTV and sponsored by Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig. The Telethon, usually part of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, is keeping to the traditional March time frame, even as the Run & Walk itself moves to May 15. Volunteers will answer phones at Scalzo, Zogby and Wittig, or remotely, and interviews throughout the day will focus on heart-health and America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.
“For the past two years, I volunteered with Catalyst, the young professionals group of the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce, on Heartbreak Hill, where the course of the run goes uphill before coming back to Utica College,” Pavlot said. “We’d make sure there was entertainment, and work with residents to see if they were hosting parties, or would be out cheering, or let us use their driveways.”
Pavlot has personal reasons for being part of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.
“I lost my father-in-law and brother-in-law at young ages to heart disease,” she said. “My father-in-law was in his 60s when he passed away four years ago. My brother-in-law, who had been born with a heart defect, passed away shortly after, only in his 30s.”
Pavlot has put together a committee that is working to secure the incentives that donors to the Telethon receive, and recruit volunteers to answer phones at Scalzo, Zogby and Wittig.
In a world that has changed, Pavlot still hopes that people will support the Telethon and America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. Funds raised at these two events help the American Heart Association fund research and programs that fight heart disease and stroke. In 2020, the American Heart Association awarded four community grants to improve nutrition security, and awarded a grant to Masonic Medical Research Institute to study the link between autism and heart defects.
“Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of all Americans,” Pavlot said. “People don’t always know that. You hear about so many women who think they are having a bad day, or are stressed out, and it turns out to be heart disease. We have a great community, with business owners who are very involved. I know we’ll have good support this year, even in extraordinary times.”
Pavlot grew up in Richfield Springs and went to Utica College. She has three sisters and is married to Ryan Pavlot.
“It’s a pleasure to work with Tina and the Telethon committee on this year’s event,” said Dave Streeter, operations manager of WKTV. “Our world has changed, but this tradition is important, and we’re honored to continue hosting the Telethon in the traditional timeframe.”
“Tina and the Telethon committee are putting together another great event, and a way for all of us to continue to fight heart disease and stroke,” said Alen Mukic, general manager of Carbone Honda of Yorkville, and chair of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk in 2021. “I’m looking forward to seeing their great results.”
Members of the Telethon Committee include:
Keara Connors, Northland Communications
Chris Ford, WKTV
Joann Fornino, Casa Imports
Tess Johnson, Hunt Real Estate
Hillary LaClair, Foy Benefits, Inc.
Cindy McNicholl, WKTV
Brett Shippee, Foy Benefits, Inc.
Dave Streeter, WKTV
Marolyn Wilson, Holland Farms
For information about the Heart Telethon, visit UticaHeartRunWalk.org or contact Pam.Mustee@heart.org.