Annual Heart Walk scheduled Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Staff Writer

Feb. 20, 2001 10 PM

Marsha Gaylard will be tying her walking shoes with a purpose in mind on Saturday morning.

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Gaylard, who was asked to serve as spokeswoman for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in Pike County, is one of many who has been touched by the nation’s number one killer.

Actually, this year’s walk falls on the day after the sixth anniversary of the heart attack that killed her husband, Bo. He had the heart attack on Feb. 23 and died on Feb. 26.

"I’m doing it for a lot of different reasons," Gaylard said of being involved in this year’s walk.

Although Gaylard always gave to the Heart Association, she had never gotten involved in the walk.

"Bo’s was a hereditary problem," Gaylard said. "When he had his first heart attack at age 37, he didn’t know he had high cholesterol."

Unfortunately, one of her son’s and two grandchildren also have the same problem.

That is why she is involved in the cause of raising, not only money, but awareness.

"I feel very strongly about people getting educated about the problem," Gaylard said of heart disease and stroke.

At the walk, there will be plenty of informational material about heart disease and stroke.

"Just about everyone’s family has been touched (by heart disease)," Gaylard said.

When you consider by age 60, every fifth man and every seventh woman will suffer a heart attack, it is not amazing to realize some of those walkers on Saturday are among the statistics of heart disease.

That is why she is encouraging people to be at the Saturday walk and be a part of the fund raiser.

"You don’t have to be a part of a team to participate," Gaylard said.

Pike County’s Heart Walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the actual three-mile walk starting at 10:30 a.m. on the Troy State University campus. There is a shorter route for those who may not be able to make three miles.

Last year, the event raised $18,000 and the goal for this year is $23,000.

Mark Bazzell, chairman of the local Heart Association, is looking forward to a successful walk.

The success, he said, will be is raising money that will fund research and reduce the number of deaths from the nation’s top killers ­ heart disease at number one and strokes at number three ­ plus the serious disabilities caused by these diseases.

April Ingram, regional director for the American Heart Association, said people in Pike County should know they benefit from the money raised because it all stays in Alabama and goes to things, such as the three research projects currently underway at Auburn University.

"We’re raising money to fund research and educational programs," Ingram said.

She said it is volunteers like those who get involved in the Heart Walk who help "make the great strides in heart research" that are saving lives.

Saving lives and having fun is the purpose of the Heart Walk.

The Heart Walk is one way to recognize those who have survived heart disease and stroke, as well as raising money and increasing awareness of these potential killers.