Pee dee area comes together to have a heart

Donny Pearis, Staff Writer

The American Heart Association will use their keynote fundraising event, the Heart Walk, to bring awareness to heart disease and strokes on Saturday, Oct. 27.

This year, FMU’s campus will be the backdrop for the three mile walk.  FMU’s team leader, Angie Bessenger said she is excited and hopeful for the October 27th event.

“We’re hosting this to raise money for research on heart disease,” Bessenger said. “But the main focus is to teach people about how to prevent heart disease and strokes.”

Bessenger said that is the most important part of this event that she has been involved with for the past thirteen years, but this is just one of the many events that the American Heart Association holds.

“There are different events held all over the area and across the country,” Bessenger said.  “The money raised here stays in the Pee Dee Area.”

The money raised by the Heart Walk goes into putting new research into the hands of doctors, groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research and educating the public on how to prevent these debilitating diseases.

According to the American Heart Association’s website, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 38 seconds. Also heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined, and congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects.

“Nationally, one out of three people are either directly or have family members that are affected by heart disease and stroke,” says the American Heart Association’s local Director for Development Jeff Baldwin.  “Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans each year and the number three is stroke. Worst of all, 75% of all heart disease and stroke related incidents are preventable by either education or preventable check-ups by your health care provider. Working towards being heart healthy is not labor intensive. You have to make little changes for the rest of your life and it will go a long way.  For example, eat an apple for a snack instead of french fries and walk for 20 minutes a day. These two things will make you healthier in the long run.”

“Let’s come out as a school and show our support for a very worthy cause,” Bessenger said.  “Selfishly, let’s also go out and beat Florence Darlington Technical College, but most importantly, let’s have fun.”

For more information, the office number for the American Heart Association is (843) 665-0985 and the website for the Heart Walk is