The American Heart Association will welcome thousands of participants to the Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk on Sunday, Sept. 23 at Northampton Community College, located at 3835 Green Pond Rd., Bethlehem Township. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; the walk kicks off at 10 a.m.
“My world was rocked as a young adult when my father had a heart scare,” said Brian Finestein, Heart and Stroke Walk chair and CEO of Easton Hospital. “I want to do what I can to spread the word about the lifestyle changes you can make to lessen your chances of having a heart attack. I encourage everyone to join us for the walk to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke, but more than that, to walk for your own health”
Among the walk participants is 12-year-old congenital heart defect survivor Cassidy O’Connell of Nazareth who will serve as the 2012 Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk child chair. Cassidy experienced cardiac arrest before she was born and had her first of several heart surgeries at three days old. Cassidy and her family will be participating in the Heart Walk as part of the Cassidy’s Hap-ee Hearts team.
“There are children, like my amazing daughter, born every day with heart defects and heart disease can strike any of us at any time,” said Tracy O’Connell, Cassidy’s mother. “The American Heart Association saves a lot of lives and you never know when you may meet someone who has been affected.”
The Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk is a family and pet-friendly event featuring a 2-mile walk route. Prizes and activities, including a Kids Zone, live music, vendors, heart health information, a survivor area, team photos, the opportunity to pay tribute to a loved one and a t-shirt design contest will be available throughout the day. The winners of the Lifestyle Change Awards, recognizing individuals who have made positive changes to improve their quality of life and health, will be presented by the Morning Call.
The Heart and Stroke Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against this country’s number one and number four killers, heart disease and stroke. The fundraising goal for the 2012 Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk is $340,000. Walkers who raise a minimum of $100 will receive a Heart and Stroke Walk t-shirt and the opportunity to receive additional prizes based on their fundraising levels.
The 2012 Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway Restaurants and Jenny Craig. This year’s platform partner is Easton Hospital. Other local sponsors include Lehigh Valley Health Network, General Supply Company, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. and Lafayette Ambassador Bank.
For more information about the Lehigh Valley Heart and Stroke Walk and Cassidy O’Connell, or to register for the walk, visit www.heart.org/lehighberkswalk or contact Kathleen Bittner at 614-396-3501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each day, nearly 2,300 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease, an average of one death every 38 seconds. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity.
About the American Heart Association
Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — it funds cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health. For more information about the American Heart Association, visit www.heart.org.