Morgan Mielnicki, Community Investment Coordinator at The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida counties, is leading a traditional Utica event in a year when it looks a little different than in past years.
This year’s WIBX Heart Radiothon, sponsored locally by Slocum Dickson Medical Group, will take place on Friday, March 5, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Radiothon raises money for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk and has taken place on the same day in past years. America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk in 2021 will take place on May 15.
“Keeping the Radiothon on the weekend that’s become known as ‘Heart Weekend’ honors a long-standing tradition, especially given that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Radiothon,” Mielnicki said. “We won’t be in person, but we will still put together a compelling schedule of interviews with doctors, Treadmill Challenge participants, and members of our community to air on WIBX on March 5.”
Mielnicki has participated in past Heart Walks, but this is her first leadership position with the event.
“I want to empower others to stay active and prioritize their health,” Mielnicki said. “I also wanted to give back to the community.”
Mielnicki is honored to be leading the Radiothon in its 50th year.
“Heart disease remains a prevalent issue within our community and across our nation,” she said. “This year has been filled with many challenges; however, being able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Heart Radiothon has been inspiring. I hope people will donate to this great cause and continue habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Mielnicki is leading a committee of seven other people, who are a combination of veteran and first-time volunteers. A big task is soliciting donations that can be used as incentives to give donors to the Radiothon.
The committee is also recruiting people to participate in the popular Treadmill Challenge, which puts people head-to-head to go the distance and fundraise. Like the Radiothon, that will look a little different this year. The Treadmill Challenge will last from March 5 – May 15. Participants can use a treadmill, walk, bike, run or do whatever kind of exercise they want. They will log their own miles. Participants will also vie to see who can raise the most donations for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. The committee is looking to have 50 Treadmill Challenge participants for the 50th anniversary.
“The committee is great,” Mielnicki said. “Everyone on our committee has been extremely dedicated, taking on additional responsibilities and helping to delegate tasks evenly. The positivity and enthusiasm toward this event have made our efforts feel worthwhile.”
Mielnicki embraces the American Heart Association’s message of exercising regularly.
“My favorite activities are running, biking, walking, Pilates, and lifting at the gym,” the 27-year-old said. “I enjoy participating in local events including The Ride for Missing Children and The Boilermaker.”
Mielnicki is from Sauquoit, and went to Herkimer County Community College and Siena College. She has worked at the Community Foundation since 2015, where she works with nonprofit partners in Herkimer and Oneida counties to find financial solutions and work on area projects. She lives in South Utica.
“We have a history of high blood pressure in our family, and if it weren’t monitored, it would create issues,” Mielnicki said. “I hope the Radiothon reminds people to prioritize their own health, especially in the time of COVID-19, when people with heart issues may be more drastically impacted. Anyone can support the Radiothon – if you’re unable to physically participate, you can still make an impact by donating or sponsoring.”
“It’s incredible that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Heart Radiothon,” said Jeff Monaski, Brand Manager at WIBX. “Morgan’s been a great leader in this special year, and we can’t wait for March 5. The Utica community supports the American Heart Association, and I think it’s going to be a very special year.”
“The Radiothon is such an important part of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, and we’re grateful that Morgan is leading it,” said Alen Mukic, general manager of Carbone Honda of Yorkville and chair of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 2021. “I know the 50th year will be a huge event.”
In addition to Mielnicki, committee members for the 2021 WIBX Heart Radiothon, locally sponsored by Slocum- Dickson Medical Group, include:
Dan Amado, Northland Communications
Karen Carey, WIBX
Andrew Derminio, WIBX
Lauren Ludlow, Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy
Jeff Monaski, WIBX
Sara Park, Slocum Dickson Medical Group
Marolyn Wilson, Holland Farms Bakery & Deli
For information about the Radiothon, contact Sarah.Stevens@heart.org or visit UticaHeartRunWalk.org.