KALAMAZOO, October 3, 2023 - The Kalamazoo Heart Walk is coming to Celery Flats Historical Area on Saturday, October 28 at 9 a.m. The Heart Walk is an annual fundraising event designed to promote physical fitness, one of the most proactive ways we can combat cardiovascular disease and stroke symptoms.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in West Michigan and several community sponsors are working together with the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, to change that. Dr. Dean D. Kindler, Regional President & CEO, Southwest Region, Ascension Michigan will serve as chair for the 2023 Kalamazoo Heart Walk.
“The American Heart Association has made a significant impact in our community – pioneering healthy food policies in schools, improving technology, and developing science-backed guidelines improving the quality of care loved ones receive in hospitals across the nation,” said Dr. Kindler. “The Heart Walk is a celebration of the steps we have taken to advance the Association’s lifesaving mission.”
As chair of the Heart Walk, Dr. Kindler is leading a team of executives to recruit companies and organizations to rally for heart health along with the family of local congenital defect survivor Maverick Shank and his family. Maverick, 15-months-old, survived three congenital heart defects and while he’s just learned to walk, the community is ready to walk beside him, his brother, and mom and dad as they support the American Heart Association.
“We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Kindler and the Shank family who are stepping up to move the needle when it comes to heart disease and stroke,” said Logann Poley, Development Director, American Heart Association, Southwest Michigan. “Through the Kalamazoo Heart Walk we can drive maximum impact through employee engagement and corporate fundraising. Together, we can save lives right here in Kalamazoo.”
The Heart Walk route will begin at Celery Flats and follow a paved trail to Portage Creek Bicentennial Park where walkers will have access to water stations and can turn around. The Heart Walk is family friendly, open to the public and will feature a kid zone, pet zone, “stomp out stress” zone and yoga. The American Heart Association will provide CPR training on-site and vendors will be offering coffee and smoothies for purchase. Kalamazoo Wings mascot “Slappy” will be on site to entertain the kiddos, too.
Heart disease and stroke are largely preventable and how you eat, move and manage stress impacts your well-being, physically and mentally.
“Without the research funded by the American Heart Association, Maverick may not be with us today. Advancements in technology since the inception of the Heart Walk have made detecting and treating conditions like Maverick’s easier and we could not be more grateful for the work the organization does to save countless lives,” said Maverick’s mom, Consuelo Shank.
The money raised at the Heart Walk funds research that saves lives like Maverick’s and funds science that gives healthcare providers the tools they need when it counts – in the moments when someone’s life is in their hands. Since the inception of the Heart Walk, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke have decreased by 45 percent.
Participants can join congenital heart defect survivor Maverick and help us keep young hearts beating by registering teams today at www.kalamazooheartwalk.org.
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.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.