Second HeartChase a success

Published 9:02 pm Monday, June 2, 2014

The Cooley family has been participating in American Heart Association fundraisers since daughter Kiersten was born.

Kiersten, who will turn 5 next month, was born with an atrial septal defect, meaning she had three holes in her heart, according to her mother, Andrea Cooley. A month after her second birthday, she underwent surgery at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters to fix the holes.

Rachel Smiley and Christianna Manning play cornhole at an activity station during the second Suffolk HeartChase on Saturday.

Rachel Smiley and Christianna Manning play cornhole at an activity station during the second Suffolk HeartChase on Saturday.

“She’s doing great,” Cooley said. “Her heart has gone back to normal size. She’s just like every other kid.”

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The Cooleys were among about 220 participants in the American Heart Association’s HeartChase event in Suffolk on Saturday.

“It’s going great,” said Ryan Holloway with the American Heart Association. “We have a beautiful day.”

About 50 teams of two to five people cycled through checkpoints spread along about a mile of Godwin Boulevard. At each checkpoint, they had to complete a heart-healthy activity that taught different ways to keep their heart healthy and avoid heart problems.

Saturday’s activities included cornhole that meshed with a game to guess the heart-healthy action. Basketball shooting, jumping jacks and peanut-sack races sponsored by Birdsong Peanuts were among the other activities. Healthy snacks also were offered along the way.

They also used the HeartChase app to scan at checkpoints and find hidden codes to scan in order to collect points.

The HeartBankers won first place, followed by the Circulators in second place. The EternaWell team won the spirit award.

“It was so much fun and it was a great turnout,” said Tammy Milteer, co-executive chair for the HeartChase. “We are looking forward to next year’s event and hopefully doubling our numbers and participation next year.”

Holloway said the HeartChase — the second annual observance of he event in Suffolk — was well on its way to its goal of doubling the number of teams, number of sponsors and overall fundraising.

“We’re pretty excited,” he said. “Suffolk is the largest HeartChase we do in the whole Hampton Roads area.”