VICTORIA, Texas, Dec. 5, 2023 – The American Heart Association, devoted to world of healthier lives for all, announces the sixth annual Crossroads Heart and Stroke Walk, set for Feb. 3, 2024, at Riverside Park in Victoria. This year's event offers a change of venue to Riverside Park while the longtime location, Victoria College, undergoes construction.

The event is always on the first Saturday of February, which is federally designated as American Heart Month. The walk typically draws some 800 people and has a 2024 fundraising goal of $160,000.

The 2024 Crossroads Heart and Stroke Walk is spearheaded by two influential leaders in the local medical community – Bernard Leger, CEO of DeTar Healthcare System, and Mike Olson, CEO of Citizens Medical Center. Leger was chairman of the walk two years ago after moving to Victoria and taking the helm at DeTar during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite being figureheads at their respective institutions, Leger and Olson are joining forces for the greater good of the community.

"We believe in the American Heart Association and its noble mission to build healthier lives, free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke," said OIson. "We are pleased to promote this cause through this year’s Heart Walk as a symbol of our collective commitment to building a healthier and stronger Victoria. We invite you to participate with us in support of this worthy cause."

"The impact the American Heart Association has made in the Victoria community over the years is something to be proud of," added Leger.

To prepare for the Crossroads Heart and Stroke Walk, the American Heart Association encourages community members to embrace the simplicity and effectiveness of walking. Walking is a low-cost, accessible and safe physical activity that offers numerous health benefits. Regular brisk walking, at a pace of 3 to 4 miles per hour, conditions the heart and lungs, improves overall well-being and enhances mental health.

"Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, can have a transformative impact on health,” said Development Director Brittany Sandbach, the walk’s longtime director. “It's not just about preventing heart disease; it's about feeling better, gaining more energy, and enjoying an improved quality of life.

To assist participants in getting ready for the Heart and Stroke Walk, the Association provides valuable tips for planning, starting, and sticking with a walking program:

  • Choose a time and stick to it: Select a convenient time for walking and maintain consistency. If time is limited, break it into shorter sessions.
  • Walk with a partner: Walking with someone can make the activity more enjoyable and help in adhering to the program. Find a partner with a similar schedule and pace.
  • Track progress: Utilize pedometers, fitness trackers, or smartphone apps to monitor daily progress and stay motivated.
  • Build it into your schedule: Make walking a part of your routine and lifestyle. Schedule walking meetings or family walks to integrate exercise seamlessly.
  • Give it time: Establishing a new behavior takes time, so be patient and consistent until walking becomes a habit.

As the saying goes, it's not all or nothing—it's step by step. So, take the first steps today towards better health by participating in the 2024 Crossroads Heart and Stroke Walk.

The Crossroads Heart and Stroke Walk is presented with top support from DeTar Health System, Citizens Medical Center and the City of Victoria. Sign up today at or become a sponsor by contacting Sandbach at


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 

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