The American Heart Association's My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative helps people understand what it means to be healthy and empowers them to take action. Recent events in Alaska – the Anchorage Heart Run and Fairbanks Heart Walk – are among this initiative’s many activities bringing communities together across the Western States Affiliate to advance the fight against heart diseases and stroke.
Alaska volunteers break fundraising records
Volunteers in Alaska broke fundraising records with great success at both the Anchorage Heart Run and the Fairbanks Heart Walk. The events promote healthy lifestyle choices – with a focus on physical activity -- while raising funds for heart and stroke research and education.
The Heart Run is the largest 5K in Alaska and celebrated its 35th anniversary on April 13. Some 5,000 runners participated in the Anchorage event, bringing in more than $232,000. This was thanks in part to “Joe’s Army,” a team formed in memory of Joe Hebert who passed away at the age of 33 of a pulmonary embolism. His team was 140 members strong and contributed more than $15,000. A few days before the Heart Run, volunteers supported the annual Mini Heart Run organized by the Providence Center for Child Development in which young children and toddlers at the center participated in a quick dash after learning about heart health. The event also included a lesson on giving to the community by providing an opportunity to donate money.
The Fairbanks Heart Walk not only broke fundraising records – it was also the coldest ever. When walkers turned out the morning of May 18, it was just 23 degrees with two inches of snow on the ground and wind and flood advisories had been issued. Our resourceful staff used a motor home as a warming hut for equipment and people at the Heart Walk. Despite the challenging weather, more than 1,000 people participated in the event and exceeded the goal by raising nearly $241,000. That’s pretty impressive for a community of approximately 35,000. Participants braved the freezing temperatures to walk a 1-mile course. A longer 2.5 mile alternative was canceled because of the weather. Fairbanks Memorial Hospital was the top fundraising team with employees bringing in more than $40,000. The top individual for the last six years has been Sonja Campbell, who raised $6,786 this time around.
Congratulations to all our Alaska volunteers and participants!