Local residents of all ages joined the fight against heart disease last weekend, Saturday at the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk.
This annual 5k/1-mile walk gathered 850 walkers and raised more than $190,000. The walk was held at Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort, with the festivities beginning at 8:30 a.m.
This family-fun event was free of charge, and individuals who raised $100 or more were given a commemorative T-shirt. There was an opportunity for participants to receive complementary health screenings, attend a health expo, as well as enjoy heart-healthy food, music and a fun kid’s zone area.
The goal of the walk was to promote heart-healthy living, educate attendees about the severity of heart disease and stroke, and celebrate the lives of heart attack and stroke survivors. A couple of these survivors included John Dixon and Alethea Tyner-Paradis.
Nearly affected by heart disease his entire life, Dixon is now a heart disease survivor after receiving an aorta heart valve transplant in 2004. He is a strong advocate of the American Heart Association’s cause and one of the top fundraiser for the 2013 Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk.
Tyner-Paradis is a heart attack survivor who sets a precedence of dedication to both her career and philanthropic work with the American Heart Association and the Santa Barbara Heart and Stroke Walks. For this reason, she is this year’s 2013 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award winner.
These two survivors are both leaders in their community and supporters of the continual funding for the American Heart & Stroke Association. Currently, heart disease and stroke, are this nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 deadliest killers. On average, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 39 seconds. Heart disease can affect nearly anyone regardless of age or gender. Promoting healthy eating, exercise, and heart disease education through the Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk is one way in which heart disease can be prevented.
Proceeds from this event will help fund the American Heart Association’s research and educational programs, along with promote the prevention, treatment, and better patient care in the area of cardiovascular disease. With the help of national sponsors Subway and Jenny Craig, local sponsor Wells Fargo, and our generous givers, the 2013 Santa Barbara Heart & Stroke Walk has come close to meeting its fundraising goal of $220,000. The opportunity to donate for this walk is still available.
— Belinda Gordillo is the director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association.