Utica, New York – The campaign against heart disease and stroke got a big lift today as the Heart Telethon on WKTV, presented by Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, raised $80,394.00. Funds raised during the Telethon go to America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.
The Telethon took a different format in a year full of “differents.” Usually broadcast at the same time as America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, today’s Heart Telethon was a standalone event at the offices of its presenting sponsor, Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig. American Heart Association staff took phone calls remotely, but Zoomed in to form a “Call Wall,” an updated version of a phone bank. Board members of the American Heart Association joined in the final hour of the Telethon. Throughout the day, WKTV anchor Jason Powles interviewed survivors, sponsors and American Heart Association volunteers. As befits the times, some interviews were in person but socially distanced; and some were by Zoom.
“We’ve moved the date of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk to May 15, but were happy to have kept the tradition of having early March events with today’s Telethon, and last week’s Radiothon on WIBX,” said Steve Gassner, administrative officer at Mohawk Valley Water Authority, chair of the Utica Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, and logistics director for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.
“I cannot thank our community, sponsors and volunteers enough for today’s Telethon success,” said Tina Pavlot, branch manager for M & T Bank, and chair of the 2021 Heart Telethon. “Going digital poses some challenges, but it is evident our community understands how important the work of the American Heart Association is by their generous sponsorships and pledges to America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Telethon.
“I’d like to thank our committee that comprises Chris Ford, Cindy McNicholl and Dave Streeter of WKTV; Brett Shippee and Hillary LaClair of Foy Benefits, Inc.; Joann Fornino of Casa Imports; Keara Connors of Northland Communications; Marolyn Wilson of Holland Farms; Tess Johnson of Hunt Real Estate; and of course, the American Heart Association staff,” Pavlot continued. “It would be remiss of me not to mention Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. for their generous and loyal support over the years. It has also been a pleasure working with our Heart Run & Walk Chair, Alen Mukic, and Radiothon Chair, Morgan Mielnicki, who also share the American Heart Association’s commitment to being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
“Thank you and don’t forget to register your team for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk on May 15th,” she said.
“So much has changed since last year’s Heart Telethon, but one thing that hasn’t is the critical need to fight heart disease and stroke,” said Dave Streeter, operations manager at WKTV. “Luckily, the generosity of the Mohawk Valley hasn’t changed either, and WKTV is glad we could play a role in this fight. The Telethon may have looked different, but the results were outstanding.”
“We are honored to be the presenting sponsor for the WKTV NewsChannel 2 Heart Telethon for the second year in a row,” said Steve Zogby, Vice President of Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig Insurance.
“To be able to raise funds that directly impact the health of the community is an amazing experience and an important endeavor,” said Gary Scalzo, President of Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig Insurance. “America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk may look a bit different on May 15th, but the mission of the American Heart Association is more crucial than ever. It is our hope the community will support this campaign again this year as they have so successfully in the past.”
“Once again, the Utica and Mohawk Valley community came through for us by supporting the Heart Telethon,” Gassner said. “Today marks a year since the pandemic began, and I am proud of the way people continue to support the work of the American Heart Association. I want to thank the Telethon committee, all the sponsors and those who donated incentives to the Telethon, and everyone who gave. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone running or walking wherever they are during America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk on May 15.”
People can continue to donate throughout the weekend by texting WKTV to 41444.
To register for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, a digital event this year, go to UticaHeartRunWalk.org.
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig is the presenting sponsor of the Heart Telethon. Hourly sponsors include Carbone Honda of Yorkville, NYSCOPBA, Preferred Mutual, and Northland Communications.