Heart Walk Offers Day Of Hope, Celebration

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CRANFORD – Create Hope, Inspire Change and Celebrate Success are the three experiences that more than 1 million Americans will bring to life at more than 450 American Heart Association Heart Walks nationwide each year, including nearly 1,000 walkers for the 2012 Greater Union County Heart Walk on Saturday, June 2, at Nomahegan Park in Cranford.

Mark Holtz, Chief Operation Officer of Overlook Medical Center, is serving as chairman of the 2012 Heart Walk, an awareness fundraiser – now in its twentieth year – that raises an estimated $75,000 to support cardiovascular research and education programs in greater Union County and throughout the Garden State.

The morning offers a variety of cardiovascular education opportunities for families, as well as fun activities for children. Registration will open at 8 a.m., followed by an official program at 9:30 a.m. and ceremonial ribbon cutting for heart disease and stroke survivors at 10 a.m. The Greater Union County Heart Walk, sponsored nationally by Subway Restaurants and Jenny Craig and locally by Overlook Medical Center, is a non-competitive one to three-mile course around the lake.

Together with co-workers, friends, family members and neighbors, teams of walkers raise money that helps fund cardiovascular research for heart disease and stroke, America’s No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death, respectively. American Heart Association-funded research has contributed to many important discoveries, such as CPR, heart valve replacement surgery, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine, and surgical techniques to repair heart defects, among others.

Walk for yourself or for those who can’t, encourages the American Heart Association. Many Heart Walk participants are survivors of heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest or heart surgery. Survivors are honored with a “red baseball cap” as a celebration of life and reminder that heart disease and stroke can be beaten. An estimated 71 million Americans are living with one or more types of cardiovascular disease. Others walk in honor of memory of a loved one, family member, colleague or friend.

Although heart disease and stroke remain our community’s No. 1 and No. 4 leading causes of death, the Association notes that nearly 80% of cardiac events may be prevented if certain risk factors are controlled-including issues like obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Heart Walk is part of the American Heart Association’s new approach to helping people get healthier with the My Heart. My Life.™ cardiovascular disease prevention platform.

This comprehensive new health, wellness and fitness initiative centers around empowering Americans to get healthier through programs focused on eating and cooking healthier meals, getting daily exercise and learning how to grow nutritious food. The American Heart Association’s theme, “My Heart. My Life. My Community.” encourages Americans to take control of their health and be empowered to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Nearly 80% of cardiac events may be prevented if certain risk factors are controlled, including issues like obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The American Heart Association encourages physical activity be part of daily life. Just 30 minutes a day – as simple as 10 minutes, 3 times per day – can lead to a stronger, healthier life. According to the American Heart Association, studies show that for every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

Participation in Heart Walk is free. Donations are encouraged. For more information on Heart Walk, sponsored nationally by Subway and Jenny Craig, visit www.UnionHeartWalk.org.

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