Over 2,000 participants lined up at the starting line for the American Heart Association Pee Dee Heart Walk to raise awareness about heart disease on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Francis Marion.
The event was sponsored by Nucor Steel and McLeod Health. These sponsors partner with the American Heart Association year round to assist with educating and informing the Pee Dee region of heart disease.
The Heart Walk consisted of a three mile walk around campus, and people of all ages, ethnicities and genders participated in the walk. Also, there was a one mile walk for heart disease survivors and participants who could not complete the entire three miles. Some participants paid tribute to loved ones lost or honored survivors of heart disease and stroke.
Senior Director of Corporate Relations, Brandie Hayes, discussed the importance of the Heart Walk.
“The Heart Walk raises awareness of heart disease and the money raised for the event goes toward research and education for the disease,” Hayes said. “Heart disease affects one out of two people in our nation, and it is important that everyone knows about the heart disease because someone you know will be affected by the disease.”
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are America’s number one and number three killers. South Carolina leads the nation with the most deaths due to heart disease and stroke, but the Pee Dee region leads the state.
The American Heart Association Heart Book, “A Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease,” states that there are controllable and uncontrollable factors risk factors that contribute to heart disease. The controllable factors are eating habits, obesity, high levels of blood fats (lipids) and cigarette smoking. The uncontrollable factors are age, sex, race and ethnic origin, heredity and family history. Making adjustments to the controllable factors along with exercise can help decrease the risk of receiving heart disease.