Mark Brazzell: Being heart smart is being head smart

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2002

Features Editor

For about as long as he can remember, Mark Bazzell has been interested in science. That interest led him to an allied health background and, working as a paramedic, he saw more than his share of victims of heart attacks and strokes.

Bazzell developed a keen awareness that heart attacks and strokes are the number one killer of Americans. He wanted to do what he could to change that and the best way he knew how was to get involved with the awareness and fund raising efforts of the American Heart Association.

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For five years, he has worked with the Pike County chapter of the American Heart Association and, as this year’s Heart Walk chairman, he is excited about the enthusiasm and interest being shown in the 2002 Heart Walk.

"This year we are making an effort to recognize the survivors of heart attacks and strokes," Bazzell said. "We want people to see that life-saving research is being done and that more people are surviving heart attacks and strokes and living productive lives. So, anyone who has survived a heart attack or stroke, or knows someone who has, is encouraged to let us know so we can recognize them during our Heart Walk activities."

Bazzell said he is excited and encouraged by large number of teams that have signed up for this year’s Heart Walk.

"We also have a number of new sponsors and we really appreciate their support," he said. "And, there is still plenty of time to join a team, form a team or just sign up individually."

The Pike County Heart Walk is set for Feb. 23 at the Troy State University intramural field. Activities will get underway at 9:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 10:15 a.m.

"We have two routes to walk," Bazzell said. "One is about three miles and the other is only a mile. So, walkers can choose to walk either route or both."

Or, they can just turn in their donation to the American Heart Association and sit back and relax and enjoy watching someone else walk.

Not that anyone needs extra incentive to help raise money for such a worthy cause, but the American Heart Association has, nonetheless, added a little something to sweeten the pot.

"This year any individual or team that raises $1,000 or more will win a cruise for two," Bazzell said. "What some teams are planning to do is raise $1,000 and, then, put the names of the team members in a hat and draw out a winner for the cruise. I expect that we will have several winners of the cruise."

Tee shirts will also be awarded to team members or individuals who raise money for the American Heart Association by participating in the Heart Walk.

"As the Heart Walk fund raising gets underway we can expect teams to have the traditional car washes and bake sales plus some new ways to raise money to bring awareness to the nation’s number one killer and provide funds for research."

Anyone who is interested in signing up for the Pike County Heart Walk is asked to contact Bazzell at 566-1850 extension 116.

It is not necessary to sign up prior to the Heart Walk, but those who do register early are provided with information, trinkets and suggestions about fund raising projects.