2x Olympic Gold Medalist encourages the community at Hampton Roads Southside Heart Walk

Hampton Roads residents, friends, colleagues, and community leaders welcomed Heart Walk back as an in-person experience with a new location hosted by the American Heart Association Hampton Roads, sponsored by Bon Secours. The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, continues to encourage an increase in physical activity with the Move More Challenge. More than 500 residents registered to participate in the Southside Heart Walk held on October 30, 2021 at Chesapeake City Park to raise funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers worldwide.

The free, non-competitive, walk offered one-mile and three-mile routes, included teams of employees from local companies, along with friends, family members and cardiovascular disease and stroke survivors of all ages. This year, participants got a special guest appearance from Team USA’s, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, Francena McCorory, who serves as a Heart Challenge Ambassador for the American Heart Association Hampton Roads.

“After my retirement, I often thought, what now, what can I do to make a change?” Francena McCorory recently expressed. “Being an advocate for my community, on cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart health means more to me now than ever. I’m thankful to the American Heart Association Hampton Roads for the time, space and opportunity to make an impact.”

The Southside Heart Walk brought the community together by engaging participants in fun, socially distanced activities like yoga and scavenger hunts. A “Thank a Healthcare Hero” mural provided an opportunity for everyone to pen a special message to the healthcare workers who have tirelessly worked on the frontlines. Teams honored cardiovascular disease and stroke survivors, inspiring each other to make positive, heart healthy lifestyle changes and celebrated the success of companies and individuals who have made the commitment to become champions of heart health through their volunteerism and fundraising through the American Heart Association.

Research shows that walking is the most popular form of exercise. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to physical activity a week. The goal is to move more, and sit less, to keep the heart and brain healthy, relieve stress, improve your mood, and lower your risk for chronic disease such as dementia and depression.

“We’re excited to be back in person, and excited to reinvigorate the heart health of our community,” said MeShall Hills, Executive Director, at the American Heart Association Hampton Roads. “Bon Secours has provided great leadership and support in bringing this campaign to life while continuing to raise lifesaving funds for cardiovascular disease and stroke. We want the community to know that while the experience may look different than in past years due to us following all local and state COVID-19 guidelines, our mission and impact remains the same in being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives with the goal to create health equity for all. Our hope is to continue to educate and provide resources and strategies to the community on ways we can all better achieve living heart healthy lives.”

Hampton Roads residents get another chance to walk with heart and meet Olympian, Francena McCorory on Saturday, November 13 for the Peninsula Heart Walk at Newport News Park in Newport News, Virginia.

The success of both the Southside and Peninsula Hampton Roads Heart Walks is due in part to platform sponsor Bon Secours. For information on participating in the Hampton Roads Heart Walk, email gina-marie.starnes@heart.org or visit heart.org/hamptonroads. Connect with the American Heart Association Hampton Roads on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for live updates @americanheartva and facebook.com/americanheartva.