Hundreds walk to fight heart disease
More than 250 people took time from their Saturday morning to help fight heart disease by participating in the Ashtabula County Heart Walk.
Young and old alike joined in the fun at SPIRE Academy to raise money for cancer research and encourage healthy living.
Two area leaders from Edward Jones were co-chairmen of the event and both said their lives had been touched by heart disease
"I had a relative that had a heart condition and I watched him suffer," said Mike Fedler.
He said heart health is so important for everyone.
Jay Bowler, also a co-chair of the event_ echoed those thoughts. He said he still remembers the day his father had a heart attack.
"It was an eye-opening and scary couple of hours," he said.
Bowler said a committee has been meeting for eight months to plan the event.
Fedler said $88,000 was raised by Saturday morning but organizers are hoping to raise more than $100,000.
The SPIRE Academy mascot, Sparky, led warm-up exercises for participants prior to the start of the walk. A few canine friends joined the walk with their owners.
The money is used to fund grants for research in northeastern Ohio hospitals.
American Heart Association officials greeted walkers and thanked them for helping to fight heart disease.
Money raised at the event is also used to teach cardio pulmonary resuscitation and provide educational programs to help people stay healthy, said officials of the American Heart Association.
Fedler said 10 individuals each raised more than $1,000 and totaled $45,000 in collected donations. Many area companies were also thanked for making the event possible.
The walkers had the choice of a two-mile course around the campus or four laps on the track to complete one mile.
By the end of Saturday the organization's website indicated $90,994.30 had been raised and the goal is $115,000.
Stephanie Westerh, of the American Heart Association, said there are four heart walks in September and October in northeastern Ohio and indicated there are hundreds of walks throughout the country during the course of a given year.