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Published 7:26 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

The Suffolk HeartChase is a growing event that may not yet be as well known as other health-related fundraisers but is rising quickly in the ranks.

Last year’s Suffolk HeartChase, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association, was No. 9 in the country, according to Ryan Holloway, HeartChase director. It already has raised more this year than last year, and there are still about two months until the actual event.

Set to take place on May 30, chasers form teams and participate in a scavenger hunt-like event that has them walking a pretty good distance. It exercises their minds and creates camaraderie with their teammates. It also helps them get some good physical activity, which — done regularly — is one of the ways to prevent heart disease.

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The money raised will help with health care, research and education on heart health conducted by the American Heart Association.

For example, the association provides information on how to keep your heart healthy and on conditions that can affect your heart.

Eating well, getting plenty of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and managing stress will help your heart, according to the association’s website. So will managing high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes well, if you’ve been diagnosed with them.

These measures can help prevent heart attack, heart failure, stroke and a litany of other conditions. The association also provides information on congenital defects, which affect many children when they are born.

This year, the Suffolk HeartChase will feature two additional checkpoints and all-new activities at the existing checkpoints.

Also new this year is an executive challenge, which Mayor Linda T. Johnson is chairing. Executive teams, business and community leaders are being urged to participate.

Mason’s restaurant, near the starting point, will provide a post-event after party for the participants.

Teams should start fundraising now, since they get a bonus and the right to penalize other teams on the day of the event.

The event is high-tech, with the use of smartphones to check in at the various checkpoints.

More information on the event and fundraising can be found at