On Saturday I got the incredible opportunity to head down to the Riverfront to talk to the most influential Wilmington leaders in cardiovascular health about the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Walk. The collective of individuals from Christiana Care, Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, Nemours Cardiac Center and the American Heart Association were filming to promote the virtual heart walk, being tracked October 7-10th this year.
A Different Look This Year
Dr. Kirk Garratt, Medical Director for the Center for Heart and Vascular Health at ChristianaCare is also the Chair for the Northern Delaware Heart Walk. When asked how the event will look different this year, he commented, “The real energy of the heart walk, in large measure, comes from everyone gathering here on the Riverfront, walking together in a collective demonstration of commitment…and showing our belief and trust in the AHA and its mission. It’s awfully hard to recreate within an digital online experience, but with David Morris’ (Executive Director of the Delaware Heart Association) leadership along with and Laura Loro (DHA’s Heart Walk Director), they’ve…weaved together online experiences that are interesting, alluring, and engaging in a way that will hopefully let people feel that they are a part of the community demonstration.”
Even against the odds, David Morris reports they are expecting quite the turn out for virtual tracking beginning Wednesday, October 7th through Saturday, October 10th. “The Heart Walk is the biggest and most important event we do, and the largest walk with over 5,000 participants (in our state). We’ve already raised over $250,000 this year on track for over $300,000.”
What’s Your Why?
When asked about why they walk, both Morris and Garratt highlighted that heart disease and stroke are the #1 cause of death for Delawareans, and worldwide. Morris stated, “We all have our own personal stories. Whether it’s your mom, loved one…friend, coworker, it really impacts us all. But that’s the great thing about Delaware, we can partner with amazing folks like Dr. Garratt and Christiana Care, and thousands of community members and it’s really inspiring to see what we can do together.”
Dr. Garratt added, “Let’s not forget we have made enormous strides. Death and disability rates in 2020 are nothing like they were 30-50 years ago and that’s largely a reflection of the success of the heart walk and activities that fund the necessary research, education, and community work that is the bulk work against this disease.”
Saving Local Lives
So how do you get involved individually, or make your own team? Start by visiting the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk page to sign up, or download the Heart Walk App. The app tracks your progress over the course of the event. You’ll also be able to fundraise through the account you create if you choose!
If you’re looking for a place to get those steps in, don’t forget about the Riverfront or the Jack A. Markell trail! I know I’m excited to get out and walk for my team, Tapp Network.
Make sure you are tagging #DEHeartWalk and #ItsTimeWilmDE on your walk so we can see all the creative ways you are getting your steps in! Also follow AHA Delaware on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more detailed information. Where are you doing your walk, what is your why? Comment below!