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VCU Health again a top sponsor, participant at American Heart Association Heart Walk



By Leha Byrd
University Public Affairs


With close to 70 teams and nearly 500 participants, VCU Health is again preparing to participate in and be a top level sponsor for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk in Richmond. The Oct. 7 event is the AHA’s premier fundraiser that supports lifesaving, cardiovascular research and community education programs in Central Virginia.

The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. at West Creek Parkway and is an effort to corral consciousness around heart disease and stroke, both leading killers in the United States, according to the AHA.

“Heart disease impacts families and friends, colleagues and coworkers, neighbors and strangers: VCU Health is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of this disease,” said Melinda Hancock, CFO of VCU Health and executive leader of the heart walk. “We are fortunate to be the recipient of many American Heart Association grants to help fund and find new ways of treating and preventing heart disease. With the Heart Walk, so much of the money stays here in Richmond where we can directly benefit.”

Last year, VCU Health raised more than $83,000 and had 700 walkers participate. Throughout VCU Health, various departments have created teams and are contributing individually to the organization’s overall fundraising gift. As the walk date nears, several of those groups have planned events to spur interest in participation.

Check out scenes from the American Heart Association Heart Walk- Richmond, October 2016. Want to join the VCU / VCU Health Team this year? Visit: WalkWithVCU.com

The “Pauley Heart Pumpers” group, led by staff from VCU Health Pauley Heart Center, sends letters to patients asking them to join the walk. They also have patient coaches who do outreach, and the department sells raffle tickets to raise money. For current heart patients who aren’t physically able to participate at the Heart Walk, Kimberly Nelson, a nurse clinician at Pauley Heart Center, has coordinated a safer and slower walk, Oct. 6, at the Pauley Heart Center unit within VCU Medical Center.

Heart disease graphic

“We want current patients to know that we haven’t forgotten about them,” Nelson said. “We’re all in this together, and they will be at the actual walk with us in spirit.”

The main route at the Saturday event is 3.1 miles and participants can walk at their own pace. There will be a Kids Zone area for children and leashed dogs are welcome. This is the 21st year the event has taken place in Richmond. The AHA is glad to link with VCU Health for event partnership and to advance a shared mission of improving the heart and brain health of the community, said Patti Jackson, vice president and executive director of the AHA in Richmond.

“VCU Health’s year-round Life Is Why sponsorship of the American Heart Association in the Greater Richmond area not only helps us hold fantastic community events like the Heart Walk,” Jackson said, “but also supports the work we are doing in the community to build healthier lives free of heart diseases and stroke.”


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