Organizers gear up for American Heart Walk

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 13, 2000

Feb. 12, 2000 10 PM

Pike County ranks above average in victims of heart disease, and local organizers hope their annual "Heart Walk" on Feb. 26 will increase awareness of the disease and help raise money to fight it..

According to statistics, 42 percent of deaths occurring in the county are due to heart attacks and stroke.

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Across Alabama, the average is 40 percent.

"Heart disease and stroke are our number one killers in Pike County," said Jimbo Shirley, who serves on the board for the local chapter of the American Heart Association.

Shirley said the organization’s goal is to increase awareness and raise money for research that will prevent the percentage of heart disease-related deaths from increasing.

And, the American Heart Walk slated for Feb. 26 should help accomplish both goals.

One of the goals, Shirley said, is to make sure paramedics have defibrillators.

Dr. Michael Gordon, cardio-pulmonary specialist at Edge Regional Medical Center, said he wants to see people live longer lives.

"It gets to be a real issue," Gordon said to the Troy Rotary Club this week. "If we can stretch it (death) out 10 to 15 years."

Being trained to stop a heart attack early can mean the difference between life and death.

And, there are plenty who are proof of that and will participate in the Heart Walk. Participating survivors will receive red hats.

This year’s goal is to raise $25,000 locally through the American Heart Walk. If achieved, the goal would surpass last year’s revenue by $7,000, said Cheryl DiChiara, American Heart Association board member.

DiChiara says the event is open to everyone and includes prizes for walkers depending on the dollar amount that is raised.

"This is ideal for families, friends , civic groups and businesses," DiChiara said.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. on Feb. 26 at Troy State University. Walking begins at 9 a.m.

For more information, call DiChiara at 566-1270.