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Walk raises over $17,000 for heart association

More than $17,000 was raised Saturday during the American HeartAssociation’s Heart Walk at Exchange Club Park.

The total is not official yet, said AHA representative MelissaSwayze, because some money raised at other events has not beenturned in. She expected that money would be collected within thenext few days.

“We had a really good turnout,” she said, “especiallyconsidering how cold it was this morning. It was a good, successfulevent. All of that money will go to the American HeartAssociation.”

About 200 people braved the low-40s weather to make theircontribution to the AHA.

The day’s events began with warm-up exercises that brought acheer and some warmth to the participants. Then, walkers followed acrowd of approximately 20 Red Caps. The Red Caps are survivors ofheart disease.

Swayze said she was excited to see people of all ages attend theevent.

“That was good to see because heart disease affects all ages,not just adults,” she said.

It was a pleasure to come to Brookhaven and help with thecampaign, she said.

“I’ve enjoyed working here. It’s a very giving community and youcan really tell that by the turnout this morning when it is socold,” Swayze said.

The walk ended three months of fund-raising efforts in thearea.

“We appreciate all the help and the community effort to raisemoney for the American Heart Association,” said Erin Likens,chairman of the event.

Money raised from the Heart Walk is used to fund researchefforts to fight heart disease, the nation’s number one killer.