Annual Heart Walk set

Capital Region event brings awareness to heart disease, advocates healthy lifestyle

RPI is once again sponsoring the American Heart Association’s annual Capital Region Heart Walk, an event which involves a three-mile walk to bring awareness to heart disease and raise funding for cardiovascular research.

The AHA, founded in 1924, has invested millions of dollars to assist individuals who suffer, primarily from heart disease or stroke. According to the AHA, “nearly 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular diseases each day—one person every 39 seconds.” While much of their funding—more than $3 billion since 1949—goes toward medical research, a significant amount is also used to educate and inform the American public about these health problems, as well as advocate what they view as a healthy lifestyle.

The Heart Walk, one of the many events the AHA holds to accomplish its tasks, occurs annually in approximately 350 locations across the country. This year, the association expects more than one million walkers to participate. The committee for the Walk in the Capital Region, chaired by Jeffrey Levy, expects around 1,500 participants to attend its event.

Each year, the Capital Region Heart Walk has a theme which emphasizes a particular aspect of the AHA’s ideals. The theme for this year’s event is “My Heart. My Life.” With a focus on a healthy lifestyle, the Heart Walk is now designed to “create a stronger community among participants, instill passion for reducing disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke, [and] generate excitement for a new or renewed commitment to heart-healthy living.”

The Walk will occur at the Crossings of Colonie in Albany along a three mile course, with a one-mile optional route for those who are either unable or unwilling to traverse the full path. Individuals of all ages are encouraged to attend, although each participant will be limited to walking or running. Apart from the Walk itself, there will be a number of events for children, such as a bounce house and face painting.

RPI employees have held and will continue to hold fundraisers to support the event. Various members of the Rensselaer faculty and staff sold Yankee Candles through April 13. These individuals are currently selling plants for Mother’s Day until May 1. They also held a bake sale on April 12. According to Operations Specialist Patti Mugrace, these employees will also hold a luncheon in Russell Sage Dining Hall on May 3. Assistant Vice President of Administration Paul Martin commented on the events: “This is an important health-related effort and we’re trying to encourage more staff and faculty to get involved.” Director of the Heart Walk Mae Osman expressed her gratitude toward RPI, mentioning that the Institute has sponsored the event for “a number of years.” For more information regarding any of these fund-raising events, members of the Rensselaer community can contact Mugrace at mugrap@rpi.edu.

Although it usually occurs in the fall, the Heart Walk will happen on Saturday, May 12. Those interested in participating can sign up online at http://capitalregionheartwalk.org/. They may also contact Osman at mae.osman@heart.org for more information about the Heart Walk in general.

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