SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Heart Walk will take place on Sunday, May 20 as a celebration of walking and a time to honor and celebrate survivors of heart disease. Local companies and organizations are encouraged to sign up and support the walk and the fight to end heart disease and stroke, the region’s number-one and number-three killers, respectively.
This year’s Heart Walk is expecting to draw more than 3,000 walkers, including many heart disease and stroke survivors, for a one-, two-, or five-mile jaunt through Forest Park. The event begins at 9 a.m. with registration, and the walk kicks off at 10 a.m. The 2006 Heart Walk raised more than $200,000 to fight heart disease and stroke.
Bill Burke, president of Lenox American Saw, will provide leadership for the recruitment of corporate teams and sponsorships as the 2007 Heart Walk chair.
“The Heart Walk will be about celebrating success and inspiring hope throughout Western Mass.,” said Maureen Mandirola, the American Heart Association’s local executive director. “We invite all businesses to sign up to celebrate their employees and families, to join us to honor loved ones, or just come out and support a good cause with a lot of fun for everyone.”
The Heart Walk is part of a larger corporate initiative called Start!, which is a corporate wellness and walking program run through the American Heart Association. According to a Harvard study, adults gain two hours of life expectancy for every hour of regular exercise. Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits, and walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. Meanwhile, physically active people save $500 a year on health care costs.
The national sponsors for the 2007 Start! Heart Walk are Subway, Healthy Choice, and Astrazeneca, with presenting sponsor Lenox American Saw. Media partners include The Healthcare News, BusinessWest, Reminder Publications, Mix 93.1, Kix 97.9, and 22 News.
Companies that are interested in the Start! program or participating in the Pioneer Valley Heart Walk should call Maureen Mandirola at (413) 735-2105 or seewww.americanheart.org/pvheartwalk to sign up.