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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 4:20 pm | Fair 55º


American Heart Association Gearing Up for Start! Santa Barbara Walk

Team leaders and other supporters are needed for the Oct. 8 benefit event

The 2011 Start! Santa Barbara Heart Walk is seeking team leaders to participate in a walk to promote healthy lifestyles and cardiovascular research.

Driven by her son’s memory, Rayme Elliott has organized a team and raised more than $10,000 for children’s heart disease research and education.

Her son Logan persevered through a congenital heart disease, open-heart surgery and collapsed lungs just months after he was born. But the 1-year-old died in October 2009 from a blood infection after complications with surgery.

“(I want) to be that shoulder for that other mom that’s maybe not as strong, who can’t get out of the house, who can’t find anybody,” Elliott said. “That was the hardest part, because nobody knows what to say to you. My goal is to not let another family hurt.”

Elliott has since become a leader of Moms with Heart, the first organization on the West Coast to raise money specifically for children’s heart disease research and education. She also took on the position of Santa Barbara chair for the American Heart Association.

“I want people to be aware and take care of their bodies and be healthy. Even if they only commit to walking once a year, they can do something for themselves and potentially save a life, ” Elliott said. “A $25 donation and walking one day can have a lifelong impact. I want people to know they have the power to save lives, and it’s a lot simpler than they think.”

The 5k walk, sponsored by the American Heart Association, gives individuals or teams a chance to build community relations while raising money for heart disease and stroke research — Santa Barbara’s No. 1 and No. 2 killers, according to Eric Thompson, a senior communications and marketing director for the American Heart Association.

“It all goes to research,” he said. “A lot of people don’t comprehend that every dollar raised does make a huge impact.”

Anyone can make a donation, join Elliott’s team or become a team leader by visiting Santa Barbara Heart Walk’s website. This year’s Heart Walk takes place Oct. 8 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

“I got another year because of (Logan’s) pacemaker,” Elliott said. “This year’s walk could lead to the next breakthrough.”

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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