PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE 10/18/19:
Every year more and more community members come out to the heart and stroke walk to raise awareness and to support fellow survivors. According to one event organizer this was the biggest year they’ve had so far.
Development Director Michelle Loehr says she expected over 300 people at the walk, but over 350 attended.
“So we are growing this walk year after year. This year I think we are seeing the largest attendance that we’ve had. Our goal is fifty thousand dollars and we’re projecting to exceed that goal. So it’s just really exciting to see how much we’ve grown over the years in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” said Loehr.
According to Loehr, that $50,000 mark was exceeded. But, raising money isn’t the only purpose the walk has. Community members get together in support of one another.
“It’s just a great way for people in the Mid-Ohio Valley to come together, whether you’re a survivor of heart disease or stroke, or have lost a family member to it, or are living with it or know someone that is, it’s a great way to get everyone together to rally to know that you have a community that supports,” said Loehr.
Every year, the Heart Walk features an honoree who has dealt with heart disease or stroke and is an active member of the community. This year’s honoree was Joe Kiger, a Mineral Wells elementary teacher.
“I’ve had two major heart attacks and ten stints, but I’m doing fine. There’s a lot of people here who’ve had more done than I have and I’m proud to see them out here tonight. It looks great,” said Kiger.
Monica Davis was honored three years ago and has been back every year since.
“In 2015, I suffered sudden cardiac arrest at franklin elementary and I was saved because of the efforts of my coworkers and the first responders,” said Davis.
She returns to show her support.
“I’ve been blessed with so many people sharing such personal stories of recovery and what they’ve been through and it’s not always easy to share those stories,” said Davis.
Community members listening to one another is what the heart walk is all about. Showing support and raising awareness.
“I’m just so grateful to all those people who have helped and supported not just my team but the entire Mid-Ohio Valley in this effort. We really need to stay on this and help each other,” said Davis.
“The one thing I’d like for people to know it they need to get checked out. We have the best medical facilities in the country, right here,” said Kiger.
The Mid-Ohio Valley Heart Walk is annual event and will be back on a Thursday sometime next October.
ORIGINAL STORY 10/17/19:
Close to 300 people took a walk around Parkersburg City Park Thursday night-to raise money and awareness about heart disease.
The American Heart Association held its annual "Heart and Stroke Walk". Those taking part walked around the city park pond and the park's walking track.
They included people who support the heart walk and its goals, as well as survivors of different heart ailments.
"Whether you're a survivor of heart disease or stroke, or lost a family member to it, or are living with it, or know someone who is, it's a great way to get everybody together to rally to know you have a community that supports you," says Michelle Loehr, Development Director for the American Heart Association. "You can tell stories, make new friends, and just raise awareness about heart disease."
While other diseases have become more publicized over the years, heart disease is still the number one killer of adults.
Loehr says the walk was expected to exceed its goal of raising $50,000.