SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For three decades, the Syracuse American Heart Association has hosted the Heart Walk. That raises awareness about the number one killer in America, which is heart disease. But now, in its 36th year, that event is going to look a lot different.
Normally, you would see about 3,000 people at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College walking in memory and to honor those who suffered from heart disease. But this year, because of COVID-19, though they’ll still be moving around with a purpose, they’ll be connecting virtually on their phones and computers.
Heart Walk leaders have created a Facebook page dedicated to what’s now the 2020 virtual event, encouraging people to join in wherever they are this Sunday. They’ll be posting live at-home workouts, like yoga, hosting a dance party, a scavenger hunt, and encouraging people to complete the 5K, but only if they follow social distancing guidelines, all while they’ll be posting information people need to know about heart disease.
The director of the event tells NewsChannel 9 that this takes a year of planning and once the pandemic struck, they needed to find a way to go through with it in another form, since this is their biggest fundraiser of the year.
“Heart disease has been and is the number one killer, and stroke is number five. But 80% of it is preventable, Julia. And that’s what I get jazzed about and that’s through diet and lifestyle change, so being healthy and being healthy for good is really why we do and why we’re counting the have the heart walk,” said Syracuse Heart Walk Director Denise McGraw.
McGraw says the Heart Association is doing vital research right now to figure out how those with heart disease are impacted by the pandemic, which is why it’s even more important to get people involved this weekend. She encourages everyone to invite their family to join the Facebook page, no matter where they live, and be a part of this.