Greater Washington Region Heart Walk raises heartbeats and more than $1.8 million

On November 4, a perfect fall morning in the Nation’s Capital, 10,000 survivors, advocates, community leaders and heart health champions laced up their sneakers and stepped out against cardiovascular disease and stroke at the American Heart Association’s Greater Washington Region Heart Walk. Representing over 100 companies and 570 teams, walkers took strides and raised over $1.87 million in support of Association-funded research, scientific advancement, CPR education, advocacy, and community programming.

Heart disease remains the No.1 killer of Americans, costing us precious time with loved ones and the opportunity for a long, healthy life, but the steps we take now can inspire lifesaving innovation for centuries to come. We all have our personal reasons why we Heart Walk – from boosting the health and well-being of ourselves and others to raising awareness, honoring survivors and remembering those lost too soon – and together, we walked for one shared purpose – TO SAVE LIVES.

Kaiser Permanente poses for a photo at the Heart Walk.
Kaiser Permanente poses for a team photo at the Heart Walk.

Thank you to our 2023 Heart Challenge Co-Chairs Cynthia Cifuentes, Vice President Brand, Communications and Community Engagement and Ameya Kulkarni, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Kaiser Permanente for leading the charge. This event was possible through their fierce commitment to equitable health for all and the support of our Greater Washington Region Heart Walk Sponsors Kaiser Permanente, Sheehy Auto Stores, Blake Real Estate, Capital One, DAVIS Construction, Leidos, Peraton, SAIC, UnitedHealthcare, Van Metre, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bristol Myers Squibb, Burness, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Deloitte, KPMG, Millennium Corporation, MITRE, RSI, WASH-FM and Shoppers Food.

This year’s Executives with Heart campaign also broke records under the leadership of campaign chair Mike Pittsman of DAVIS Construction. Over 100 local leaders committed to raise $5,000+ and collectively contributed over $635,000 toward the Heart Walk. The following leaders highlighted on Executive Row eclipsed their $5,000 goal:

Name Company
Amry Junaideen Deloitte
Arthur Murray Dance Center of Gaithersburg
Chad Oursler DAVIS Construction
Chris Crowder Unanet
Chris Jasiota DAVIS Construction
Connie Peduzzi
Dave Clark RSI
Dave Eismeier KPMG
Dave Greenspun Blake Real Estate
Dr. Sandra Nichols UnitedHealthcare
Emily Holubowich AHA Advocacy Office
Jeff Bosick Leidos
Jeffrey Harris
Jennifer Newport Shoppers Food
Jennifer Wink Blake Real Estate
Jim Moos Leidos
Joseph Winthrop SAIC
Ken Hofgesang SAIC
Lauren Newhouse
Lauren Sipple KPMG
Linda Gooden Gooden LLC
Marilyn Crouther Crouther Consulting
Mark Benedetti Blake Real Estate
Marlena Villar Inova
Meghan Callahan DAVIS Construction
Michael Kirshbaum EAB
Mike Peduzzi KPMG
Mike Pittsman DAVIS Construction
Owen Billman Blake Real Estate
Pat Balch RSI
Sherry Grasson AT&T
Shirley Gale Amazon
Sima Shahin Rancher Government Solutions
Steve Hawryluk DAVIS Construction
Susan Haning The Freeman Company
Tim Gillis KPMG
Tom O’Donohoe Digital Realty
Vicki Schmanske Leidos
Vince Sheehy Sheehy Auto Stores


“We are all connected to heart disease and stroke in some way – whether through a friend, family member or personal diagnosis. The Heart Walk is a celebration of life and the strides we have made to ensure people not only survive heart disease but also thrive and go on to live long, healthier lives,” said Soula Antoniou, Executive Director, American Heart Association Greater Washington Region. “Thank you to everyone who made this tremendous event possible, especially our 2023 co-chairs Cynthia Cifuentes and Dr. Ameya Kulkarni of Kaiser Permanente.”

Robot dog
Furry and mechanical friends joined us for the highly-anticipated pet parade.

In the shadow of the iconic monuments, walkers immersed themselves in a morning of heart-pumping action on The National Mall. Fitness guru Laurent Amzallag got the crowd warmed up as people flocked to the stage for games and giveaways with the WASH-FM Street Team. Other highlights included Hands-Only CPR demonstrations, family-friendly fun in the kids zone and the highly anticipated pet parade. A crowd favorite, the “top dogs” in this year’s costume contest included a superhero, taco, princess and even a robotic hound.

Kicking off our opening ceremonies, WASH-FM radio personality Jenni Chase returned as emcee for a third-consecutive year joined by Telemundo 44 news anchor Maria Renee Barillas. The program celebrated the steps we all can take to live longer, healthier lives with Lauren Culbertson of Sheehy Auto Stores announcing that this year’s Move More Activity Challenge tracked over 109,000 movement minutes – enough to walk from the DC Heart Walk stage to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco!

Sending the crowd off with the “National Anthem,” Miss District of Columbia Jude Maboné took to the stage accompanied by the United States Armed Forces Color Guard. A six-time heart attack survivor, Jude shared on Instagram what it meant to pay tribute to the countless brave survivors and families in the crowd touched by heart disease and stroke.

Miss District of Columbia on stage at the Heart Walk
Six-time heart attack survivor and Miss District of Columbia Jude Maboné sings the “National Anthem” and shares her story at the Heart Walk.

“Today was for 16-year-old Jude who was embarrassed of her condition. Today was for 17-year-old Jude in heart failure lying in bed and writing on her bucket list that she wanted to compete for Miss America someday but not really knowing if she’d live to see that dream come true. Today was for 18-year-old Jude when the doctors finally stabilized her, and she could start living again. Today was for survivors. Today was for the ones we lost. Today was for you,” she said.

All funds raised by the Heart Walk ensure more cardiovascular research is funded and our community has access to the quality care and resources they need to thrive. Donations in support of the Greater Washington Region Heart Walk can be made through the end of 2023 at