More than 1,000 local residents laced up their sneakers in support of the American Heart Association Northwest Indiana Heart Walks in Lake and Porter counties last month.
The annual events, Sept. 7 at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Sept. 28 at Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve, raised more than $500,000 to fight heart disease and stroke through research and programs in Northwest Indiana.
For the first time, walkers were treated to piano performances from 9-year-old heart survivor Logan Castleton, of Valparaiso, who garnered rave reviews from participants, volunteers and fellow heart and stroke survivors. Logan led the walk in a sporty red Corvette.
The noncompetitive, 1- to 3-mile walk included teams from local companies, along with friends, family members and survivors. Attendees remembered survivors and loved ones lost to heart disease and stroke through a special red balloon release. The event included blood pressure screening, a kid's zone, games, face painting, music and heart-healthy snacks.
Instrumental in this year's success was Heart Walk executive chairman Dale Heinz, Senior Division manager of Primary Operations at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. Under his leadership, his ArcelorMittal team was the top fundraiser with $125,000.
“This has been an extraordinary year for the Northwest Indiana heart walks,” said Heinz. “It has been inspiring to see our community and leaders fully embrace the lifesaving mission of the AHA.”
Ian McFadden, CEO of Methodist Hospitals, led the Methodist Hospitals team to become the top hospital team with $50,000 raised.
“Methodist Hospitals provided free blood pressure screenings to make walkers aware of their health. When you go to a Northwest Indiana heart walk you walk away with the tools and resources you need to live a long, heart-healthy life – and you have fun doing it,” McFadden said.
The Northwest Indiana Heart Walk is a component of the AHA's "My Heart. My Life" behavior platform, a national movement to create and embrace an overall healthier lifestyle. AHA's sweeping national goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.
To support the Heart Walks, visit northwestindianaheartwalk.com. Like the AHA at facebook.com/AmericanHeartAssociationOfNorthwestIndiana.