Saturday morning downtown Tulsa was buzzing with anticipation as the Tulsa Heart Walk was about to kickoff at 9am. An estimated 6,000 participants met at ONEOK field to take team photos and get ready for the 5k walk. Walkers were challenged to raise money from family, friends, and co-workers for the American Heart Association. To date, the Tulsa Heart Walk raised $661,948. Money raised goes to advancing groundbreaking science through research, strengthening emergency cardiovascular care, and implement health programs in the community.
Hillcrest HealthCare System was well represented with 259 participants, raising a total of $19,391.64. Teams included Bailey Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center, Oklahoma Heart Institute, Hillcrest Hospital Claremore, and Hillcrest Hospital South. Hillcrest employees volunteered at the event, greeting participants at the entrance to ONEOK field and passing out hand sanitizers. It is not only an important event for the Tulsa community, but a fun event as well for families and even the dogs!
Since 1999, the American Heart Association has funded more than $1 billion in heart and stroke research, with more than $3 million invested in more than a dozen active research projects in Oklahoma. Local training centers use money raised during the Heart Walk to fund local training centers. In 2011, more than 27,000 people in Tulsa received CPR, defibrillator, and first aid training. Health programs offered in Tulsa include Go Red For Women, empowerMe, Search Your Heart, and more.
As the American Heart Association continues to focus on their mission of “building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke”, we are reminded why events like the Heart Walk are so crucial to that mission. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans, kills more women annually than all forms of cancer combined, and is now a growing risk for the one third of U.S. children who are overweight or obese. The American Heart Association’s long-term goal is to improve cardiovascular health for all Americans by twenty percent by the year 2020.