The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart Walk on Sunday, May 6th at Harriman State Park drew hundreds of supporters who walked for their hearts and the AHA’s research and programs, despite the day’s early rains. Donations are still being accepted at www.tricountyheartwalk.org.
Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women—it kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects. Thankfully, more than 80% of heart disease incidence can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating healthier and walking 30 minutes most days of the week.
Events like the Heart Walk get people walking as part of the AHA’s year-round Healthy For Good campaign to create a culture of health at home, at work and in the community. The funds raised from the Heart Walk support lifesaving programs and research. The AHA is the largest non-governmental source of cardiovascular research, and pediatric cardiac research funding in the nation.
“The money raised goes to support mission-related goals, including research, education, training, and community programs. Research funded by the American Heart and Stroke Association has led to scientific breakthroughs like pacemakers, cardiac stents, and artificial heart valves that keep heart patients in the game,” said event chair, Joe Surace, Vice President of Operation at St Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.
AHA’s ongoing advocacy efforts to build healthier communities were pivotal in passage in three recent local laws pushing the tobacco sale age to 21 from 18 in Orange, Rockland and Sullivan Counties. With the leadership of AHA volunteer advocates, the Pulse Oximetry Law passed in New York in 2013 to help detect congenital heart defects. In 2015, the CPR in Schools Law was passed ensuring CPR training for high school students.
Many past Honorees were celebrated during the program, including Kattya Fernandez of New Windsor, who led the Zumba warm-up. Lynn Warren of Newburgh was celebrated as this year’s Survivor Honoree. Last year, he felt chest pains after working out at the gym. He told his wife, Liz, his symptoms and she insisted they go to the hospital. The emergency team at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh escorted him in from his car and things started moving very quickly. It was then he realized how serious his condition was. He was released from the hospital three days later, grateful to be alive. Drug-eluting stents were developed by an AHA-funded researcher.
To get involved in American Heart Association programs and events like the Heart Walk, CPR training, school-based programs or CycleNation, contact JoAnn Parker, Heart Walk Director at 845-542-4580 or email [email protected]. Visit www.heart.org/hudsonvalley for more info. Join the AHA online at www.facebook.com/AHANewYork or www.twitter.com/HVHeartAssoc.
The Heart Walk is sponsored locally by “Healthy For Good” Sponsor, Orange Regional Medical Center; “F.A.S.T./Learn the Warning Signs Sponsor, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital; “National Walking Day” Sponsor NicePak/PDI, Cardiology Group at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital; Orange Bank & Trust, Crothall Healthcare, Columbia Doctors, and media sponsors Hudson Valley Magazine, Niki Jones Media, Lamar Advertising, and Now 97.7FM.