Heart Walk designed to pump up funds, awareness

Hundreds attended last year's American Heart Association Heart Walk at Delaware Technical Community College's Terry Campus in Dover. (Delaware State News file photo by Dave Chambers)

More than 1,000 people attended last year’s American Heart Association Heart Walk at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover. (Delaware State News file photo by Dave Chambers)

DOVER – The American Heart Association promotes heart health all year long but every October is special.

That’s when it hosts its annual Heart Walk. The AHA of Delaware has scheduled two Southern Delaware Heart Walks, one for Oct. 17 in Georgetown and the other for Oct. 24 in Dover.

The 24th annual Southern Delaware Heart Walk is a fundraiser for the Delaware chapter of the AHA and has a combined fundraising goal of $140,000.

“All the money raised stays right here in Delaware and goes toward awareness, support and education,” said Jill Halverson, director of the Southern Delaware Heart Walk.

The AHA works through local chapters with the goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent by 2020 while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent.

The AHA plans to achieve this goal through a range of actions, including improving patient care, advocating healthier lifestyles, reaching populations at risk and raising awareness.

All of the fundraising for the Heart Walk begins before the actual event and so far, more than $60,000 has been raised. Each individual or team sets a goal for themselves and raises money from friends, family and local businesses.

“Many people who donate or participate have been personally affected by heart disease in one way or another and some teams of coworkers participate as a morale booster,” Ms. Halverson said.

According to the AHA, heart disease kills more people in America each year than any other disease and stroke is a leading cause of disability and the fourth-leading killer.

Last year, more than 1,000 people came out for the Dover walk and more than 700 turned out for the Georgetown walk in support of the AHA’s goals.

The walk is a non-competitive 5K and participants can either walk or run.

“Just doing the walk could be the start of a positive lifestyle change for someone,” Ms. Halverson said. “Many people don’t realize what a difference only 30 minutes of exercise can make when it comes down to reducing the risk of heart disease.”

Aside from adding exercise, other measures to reduce the risk of heart disease include quitting tobacco, eating a healthy diet and keeping an eye on your blood pressure.

Both walks are at their town’s respective Delaware Technical Community College campuses. Registration begins at 8 a.m. followed by stretching at 8:45 and the walk itself starts at 9.

To register for either Southern Delaware Heart Walk, visit heart.org/southerndewalk or call 286-5711.

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