Beat goes on with HeartChase

Published 9:41 pm Monday, May 19, 2014

An event set for next Saturday will raise money for the American Heart Association while providing fun, exercise and heart-healthy information for participants in the process.

The second HeartChase will take place May 31, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Teams of two to five people will start and finish on Burnetts Way and visit several checkpoints on foot along the Godwin Boulevard corridor, learning about things they can do to improve their heart health.

The American Heart Association’s Heart Man mascot cheers on participants at last year’s HeartChase event. This year’s redux is set for May 31.

The American Heart Association’s Heart Man mascot cheers on participants at last year’s HeartChase event. This year’s redux is set for May 31.

“Heart disease is one of the No. 1 killers in America,” said Tammy Milteer, the co-executive chair for the event. “I just encourage everybody to come out and be a part of this, because it represents Suffolk and it represents our compassion and care for finding financial assistance that goes toward heart disease.”

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

The first HeartChase in Suffolk took place last year. It involved about 150 participants in 50 teams and raised about $19,000. It was part of a new venture to create participatory events for people in rural areas who often don’t make it to big fundraising events in more urban areas.

“Our fundraising has doubled from last year already, and we couldn’t be more excited,” Milteer said. “It’s all for a good cause, because just about everyone I know has someone in their family that’s been affected by heart disease or stroke or has cholesterol issues.”

Milteer said a common stereotype is that only older folks or those who haven’t taken very good care of their health get heart disease. But the truth is that heart disease and defects can affect anyone of any age, and the American Heart Association helps all of them.

“It just doesn’t affect older people, but it affects children as well,” she said.

Ryan Holloway with the American Heart Association said the money raised by the event will go toward the association’s mission, which aims to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent.

Just in the last year, the association has provided more than $7 million in research grants to Virginia institutions, Holloway said. It’s also engaging in things like hands-only CPR training, promoting smoking cessation, screening newborns for heart defects and encouraging folks to maintain a healthy weight, exercise and eat a healthy diet, as well as watch their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

For more information or to register, visit www.heartchasesuffolk.org, call Milteer at 483-2500 or email tammy@eternawell.com.