Last Saturday, October 19, more than 5,000 walkers joined the American Heart Association for their annual Heart Walk event in downtown Austin. The goal? To have fun, get inspired, and support a meaningful cause. The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier event for raising funds to save lives from heart disease and stroke. Nearly 50,000 Texans die of heart disease every year, and the money raised through the Heart Walk funds research and initiatives that promote prevention, treatment, and better patient care in the areas of cardiovascular disease—the leading cause of death in the United States.
The event was chaired by Berry Spears, managing partner-in-charge at Norton Rose Fulbright. Spears was on hand to offer words of inspiration to the participants and hand out awards to the top team and individual fundraisers. A survivor tribute song was performed by Monique French, and walkers were also treated to live performances by Soul Mystifiers, the River Kid Singers from Riverbend Church, and the UT dance team.
Over $715,000 was raised in this year’s Heart Walk, and, for the first time ever, two teams—St Jude’s Medical and St. David’s HealthCare—raised over $100,000 each. In addition to raising funds for research, the Heart Walk also raised awareness: The simplest, most positive change one can make to effectively improve heart health is to start walking. According to the American Heart Association, walking just 30 minutes a day, five times a week, can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain body weight, and lower the risk of obesity. Walkers were encouraged to take an active role in their own health and to keep on moving.