KINGSTON – Hundreds of Hudson Valley residents laced up their sneakers and walked to support the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk event at Dietz Stadium on Saturday, March 29th. The walking helped the participants’ hearts and the funds raised for the AHA’s life-saving heart programs and research will help even more hearts in the community.
The Heart Walk is part of the AHA’s My Heart. My Life. initiative to improve the heart health of Americans. The AHA’s recommends physical activity, like walking, for 30 minutes on most days of the week to strengthen your heart, improve your health and prevent the number one and four killers—heart disease and stroke.
Local residents Karen Billing, John Dana Sexton, and Ray Humenick were honored for sharing their survival stories in the months leading up to the event. Local survivors, wearing red caps, also participated in the pre-walk ceremony.
"I’m very happy that my recovery is going well. I’ve got a new lease on life!" said Heart Walker Annemarie Milczanowski, a heart surgery survivor from Shokan. She had aortic valve replacement and two bypasses.
David Ping, Health Quest Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Development served as chair of the event this year. Last year’s event raised more than $330,000 for the AHA. Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association funds 2,100 scientists around the United States and currently funds five Hudson Valley researchers with grants totaling $1.43 million.
The event also funds AHA advocacy programs like You’re the Cure which led the charge for the passage of the Pulse Oximetry Law, which took effect in January in New York State.
The law mandates that all newborns have pulse oxygen readings before being released from a birthing facility. The simple, low-cost test can identify congenital heart defects at the earliest stages before the baby goes home. Every newborn in New York State will be screened for their number one birth defect as a result of the law.
This was the second of two regional walks. Free CPR demonstrations were held by Regional Hands-Only CPR Sponsor, Westchester Medical Center and refreshments were provided by local businesses, including Subway.
Residents can still make donations to support the AHA online at www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org.
The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by Health Quest, Laerdal Medical, St. Francis Hospital, Adams Fairacre Farms, The Heart Center, and Hudson Valley Magazine.