DALLAS (March 14, 2017) – Each year, the American Heart Association’s Heart Walks bring together more than 1 million people from 15,000 companies to help fight against the nation’s two biggest killers, No. 1 heart disease and No. 5 stroke.

Since 1992, Heart Walks have raised approximately $1.6 billion collectively to support the research, education, prevention and community programs funded by the AHA.

“We are thankful to our dedicated corporate partners and their engaged employees who are participating in this important community cause to create healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke,” said Nancy Brown, the American Heart Association’s Chief Executive Officer. “The AHA Heart Walks offer a unique opportunity to bring together passionate survivors and community members to not only raise lifesaving funds, but also raise healthy heartbeats.” 

Companies like AT&T, Tenet Healthcare, UnitedHealth Group and Union Bank are National Heart Walk teams and some of the top fundraising companies for Heart Walk, proving that their leadership plays an important role in the life-saving mission of the AHA.

“By supporting AHA, we not only support our community, but the lives of our friends, families and customers affected by heart disease,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations at AT&T. “I am proud of our employees for their dedication to this cause, and am honored that we get to be a part of it.”

Heart disease affects approximately 800,000 Americans each year. By walking, companies and their employees can showcase the benefits that physical activity and healthy living can have on cardiovascular disease.

“UnitedHealth Group is grateful for the opportunity to support the American Heart Association and the many Heart Walks it hosts every year,” said Dirk McMahon, UnitedHealth Group’s Executive Vice President of Enterprise Operations. “The Heart Walks help inspire our employees to adopt long-lasting healthy habits and raise funds for educational and outreach programs that enhance their communities’ health and well-being.”

The decision to invest in the health of employees has an additional benefit for their families and the community where they live, potentially creating far-reaching benefits for the company. Among the many employee wellness benefits, companies cite increased employee productivity and satisfaction, reduced absenteeism and lower healthcare costs for the organization.

“Union Bank commends fellow corporate partners who, like us, believe that rallying employees around the American Heart Association’s mission of preventing heart disease and saving lives is a worthwhile endeavor that unites and gives us all a greater sense of purpose,” said Pierre Habis, Union Bank’s Head of Consumer Banking and Enterprise Marketing. “For more than 30 years, we have been a proud supporter of the AHA, and we are extremely pleased to be among the country’s top fundraising teams.”

Tenet Healthcare has been a long-time supporter of the AHA and the Heart Walk due in part to shared missions.

“Because the AHA’s work to fight cardiovascular disease touches every one of our 80 hospitals and many health centers across the country, it acts as a unifying cause,” said Eric Evans, Tenet Healthcare’s President of Hospital Operations. “With so many Heart Walks nationwide, we appreciate that employees can walk in their local communities, yet still feel tied to the greater company effort. Supporting the Heart Walk is just one more way our 130,000 employees can deliver on our mission to help people live happier, healthier lives.”

Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk is usually a three-mile non-competitive walk with shorter distances offered for survivors and children. Each event also offers fun activities for kids, health information, giveaways, main stage entertainment and more.

In addition to the walk, companies can participate in the AHA’s Workplace Health Solutions to help maximize their current employee health programs engaging their employees with the AHA’s tools to reach their ideal cardiovascular health. Employees are also able to join the AHA’s Healthy For Good™ movement, which provides simple, shareable, science-based information and resources to help all Americans make lasting changes for better health.

Learn more about Heart Walk at http://www.heartwalk.org/ and Workplace Health Solutions at www.heart.org/workplacehealth.

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To participate in the annual event, walkers can registers online by visiting http://www.houstonheartwalk.org/ or by calling 713-610-5000. There is no registration fee, but donations are accepted. Walk as part of a company team or form your own team with family and friends.

About the American Heart Association 

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact:  Amber Bagwell,  amber.bagwell@heart.org;  (214) 441-4254