SPRINGFIELD The American Heart Association, the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease and stroke, recently hosted its 2012 Pioneer Valley Heart Walk recently at Forest Park in Springfield.
More than 1,500 supporters, survivors, volunteers and local companies were in attendance. Collectively, approximately $165,000 was raised to fund research and education of heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 4 killers in the United States.
Throughout the event, walkers had the opportunity to receive free health screenings and receive educational materials on healthy living to help reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease. Those who had lost a loved one were able to pay tribute by signing a legacy wall or by walking in their honor.
"This event is important in the fight against heart disease and stroke right here in Western Massachusetts and I am so proud of the amazing way everyone came together to raise these funds," Rich Wuerthele, walk co-chair and president of Lenox, said. "The walk would not have been successful without the hard work of our committee, volunteers and survivors. The dollars raised at the heart walk will go toward research and education so that western Massachusetts residents may begin on their path to a healthier lifestyle and live a longer, strong life."
Each year 1.2 million Americans will have a first or recurrent coronary attack and each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds takes place. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Research has found that individuals may gain two hours of life expectancy for every one hour of regular, vigorous exercise they do.
To contribute to the American Heart Association, visit pioneervalleyheartwalk.org or contact Traci Heath, development director at the American Heart Association West Springfield office, at 735-2109.
For more information on the risks for heart disease and living a healthier lifestyle, go to heart.org.
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