Heartwalk given enthusiastic start

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Heartwalk 2000 company leaders enthusiastically kicked off theAmerican Heart Association’s annual fundraising drive in LincolnCounty during a luncheon Tuesday.

AHA representatives and Heartwalk committee members talked tocompany team leaders about the benefits of the Heartwalk.

“Right now in the state of Mississippi, we have 13 differentresearch projects going on that the American Heart Associationfunds,” said Bella Douglas, development specialist for the AHA.

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Research projects make it possible for heart specialists todiscover ways heart disease and stroke begin, and how they can beprevented. Research is also being conducted on what types of peopleare more susceptible to having heart problems and why they are morevulnerable, explained Douglas.

Funds from Heartwalks across the state help those projectscontinue, she added.

Lincoln County’s Heartwalk has always been one of the bestcontributors, said Douglas, and committee members are hoping foranother successful fundraising year.

“We’ve got a new goal this year, and we know it can be reached,”said Heartwalk Chairman David Fields. “We want to have 450 walkersand raise $54,000.”

Last year, Lincoln County’s Heartwalk raised around $40,000 withover 300 walkers participating in the event.

This year’s Heartwalk will be held Nov. 4 at the Exchange ClubPark. Participants raise funds before the walk by asking fordonations, and putting on fundraisers, such as car washes, bakesales and raffles.

The funds are used not only for research projects, but also forcommunity education and service programs.

AHA representatives explained to company leaders how importantthis fundraising effort is to their community, citing facts aboutLincoln County.

“The latest report shows that there is a stroke belt inMississippi,” said Douglas. “Thirty-eight percent of the people whodie in Lincoln County are dying of heart disease and stroke.”

Committee members also expressed how far cardiovascular diseasesreach in Lincoln County.

“All of us have family or friends, someone who is affected byheart disease and stroke,” said Fields.

Company leaders also heard a testimony about how muchcardiovascular diseases affect local people when Brookhaven nativeTommy Sproles spoke to the crowd about having a heart attack whenhe was 27 years old.

He recalled the sensations surrounding his experience, and howfortunate he was that medical advancements had been made because offundraising efforts.

“My doctor told me that 10 years ago they would have had to openme up to figure out what happened, so that shows how much it hasimproved,” he said.

Committee members and AHA representatives closed the meetingwith examples of the many incentive programs available duringfundraising efforts. They displayed and talked about the prizes,including a stereo and clothing, that could be won by raising moneyfor Heartwalk 2000.