Annual fundraiser encourages heart health


On Saturday, the American Heart Association hosted its annual Heart Walk at Spirit Park.

The Heart Walk is a fundraiser hosted by the American Heart Association. The funds raised in the Heart Walk support research to prevent and treat heart disease, to spread awareness of heart disease and to show people how to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack.

The event began at 8 a.m. with stretching, signing and other activities before the walk’s start at 9 a.m. The field was full of participants, sponsors and even USM’s mascot Seymour. Event organizers passed out water along the path to keep runners hydrated.

Regency Hospital employee Amanda Diiorio attended the Heart Walk as part of a fundraiser for work.

“I feel exhilarated,” Diiorio said. “One thing that I don’t like was that the signs weren’t up. There were a few times I made a wrong turn.”

Diiorio said she has participated in similar events such as 4k runs prior to joining the Heart Walk.

“I have heard of it before, but today was my first day actually in the Heart Walk,” Diiorio said.

Southern Prohibition Brewery employee Emily Curry said she enjoyed the event with her friend.

“I’m here with my friend, and I agree with her,” she said. “I also came because knowing information about our hearts is good.”

Senior business major Richard Barnes said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the fundraiser.

“I’ve done other kinds of fundraisers, but the one most similar would be Relay for Life,” Barnes said. “I want to show mental support for the people who experience heart problems. My mom has heart problems. My grandmother and uncle died from heart attacks.”

According to its website, the American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

The association provides public health education by offering elementary level lesson plans to teachers, teaching new exercises that improve heart health, sponsoring other fund- raising events such as Hoops for Hearts and providing treatment guidelines to doctors and nurses. The Association educates lawyers, health professionals, teachers, students and the public for changes that improve the health of communities.