Fundraisers get blood pumping at Heart Walk

by Matt Corpening
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Staff photo by Emmy Errante 

Participants complete the 2013 Cape Fear Heart Walk to raise funds for heart disease and stroke on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Walkers, volunteers, fitness instructors, healthcare specialists, radio and television personalities, recent recipients of new hearts, and money donors made up several of the many demographics that comprised the 1,500 attending the 27th American Heart Association’s Cape Fear Heart Walk at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. 

No issue was closer to the heart Saturday, Oct. 19, than cardiovascular health.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women,” Ashley Miller, the event’s organizer, said. “It’s very important even if someone is afflicted with an illness that they know what to do to stay healthy. You have to exercise, watch what you eat and take care of yourself. … Two-thirds of the cases of heart disease are preventable.” 

The walk commenced with brief speeches from the large stage adjacent to the university track by Tyler Cralle and Frances Weller, who asked meteorologist Gannon Medwick to “turn the water off” as a light rain began to fall.

Those present who had survived heart disease wore red baseball caps and some children wore red capes to represent that heart defects are the No. 1 birth defect in newborns. 

Individual and team walkers set specific fundraising goals on the 2013 Cape Fear Heart Walk website. For every $100 raised, each walker was entered in a drawing to win an iPad. Although the walk has now concluded, visitors to the website can continue to contribute money in the name of a specific team or individual.

“Our goal is to raise $185,000, and we don’t stop fundraising until December so we should come close to that,” Miller said.

Two routes, a 1-mile and a 3-mile, that started and finished at the track looped around the university campus.

To help spread awareness about the lifesaving technique of hands-only CPR, New Hanover Regional Medical Center Emergency Services gave CPR instructions and certifications on site. David Glendenning, education coordinator with NHRMC EMS, spoke while gesturing to a nearby CPR dummy.

“It’s really good to be an advocate and walk and raise funds, but you need to understand that [heart disease] can lead to this, which is cardiac arrest,” Glendenning said. “For people at a higher risk of cardiac arrest, if they get to that worst possible point out in the field, the only thing that’s going to save them is these chest compressions. If nobody’s doing them before we arrive, that patient isn’t going to get out of the hospital alive.” 

Though reasons for walking varied, smiles were ubiquitous among participants crossing the finish line. Walker Tom Farmer said the walk is a positive experience for all participants.

“I had two stints put in, never had a heart attack, but was diagnosed with angina which means an artery blockage. I’ve done the walk before, it’s a positive thing,” Farmer said. 

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