Heart campaign gets big kickoff

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 16, 2003

The largest group of company leaders ever kicked off the 2003 Pike County American Heart campaign Thursday at the Collegedale Church of Christ.

The outstanding response was reason to be optimistic that Pike County will reach, and even surpass, its goal of $26,000.

"Pike County raised $21,000 last year and I think this year's goal is realistic," said April Ingram, regional director of the American Heart Association.

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Ingram expressed the great need for funding heart research and raising awareness about America's number one killer - heart disease and stroke.

"From 1979 to 2000, the number of cardiovascular operations and procedures increased 397 percent," Ingram said. "Cardiovascular disease killed 945,836 Americans in 2000 compared to cancer, 553,091; accidents, 97,000, Alzheimer's disease, 49,558 and AIDS, 14,478."

Those alarming numbers served as a motivating factor for the company leaders who were charged with forming teams and raising $100 per member by collecting donations from friends, co-workers and family members.

Ingram said individuals or teams that earn $1,000 will win a four-day, three-night cruise for two.

"Teams often use the cruise as incentive for members," Ingram said. "Each person, who raises a determined amount of money, will have their name entered in a drawing for the cruise. Of course, an individual who earns $1,000 will get a cruise. Teams or individuals that earn $2,000 or more will win a five-day, four-night cruise. The cruise is a great incentive and a great prize."

Other prizes are also available to team members on a structured basis.

Team leaders were challenged find new and creative ways to raise money for the American Heart Association during the campaign that culminates with the Heart Walk.

"The Pike County Heart Walk will be Feb. 27 and it will be done differently this year," Ingram said. "The event will be held at Cattleman Park. They have a large indoor facility and weather will not be a factor."

The Heart Walk will also be held at night, from 6 until 8 p.m., rather than the morning.

"Having the event at night will make it more convenient for more people," Ingram said. "It's going to be a great event with music, kids games and food. We will also have booths where participants can get blood pressure and cholesterol checks and body fat analysis. We are going to offer merchants an opportunity to have booths. It should be a lot of fun for everyone and bring to a close a very successful campaign."

In addition to the Heart Walk, there will also be a Red Cap breakfast for survivors of heart disease and strokes. That breakfast will be on Feb. 22 at Collegedale Church of Christ.

Ingram encouraged the company leaders to go back to their places of work and enlist as many team members as possible to make a difference by helping the American Heart Association fight America's leading killers - heart disease and stroke.