By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
VIERA -- Lace up your sneakers and make your way to Space Coast Stadium this weekend for heart health awareness.
On Saturday, Sept. 14, the American Heart Association's START! will host its annual Brevard Heart Walk, a four-mile walk through the streets of Viera. This free event is for people of all ages.
"The total number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in Brevard County is more than 1,750 people each year," said Robin Mozingo, regional director for the American Heart Association in Brevard, Volusia and Flagler counties. "That makes up almost 30 percent of the deaths in Brevard County a year."
Ms. Mozingo, who has been with the AHA for a year and a half, said that heart disease is responsible for more than 1,460 deaths in Brevard County. She added that stroke, the No. 4 killer of all Americans, claims about 300 lives each year on the Space Coast.
The annual Brevard Heart Walk's aim is to bring awareness to the dangers of heart disease, while raising money and walking with determination to end heart disease. This will be the eighth year that the Heart Walk will be hosted in Brevard.
"This year, we're expecting between 800 and 1,200 registered participants," Ms. Mozingo said. "But that doesn't include the number of people, who might decide to join us the day-of."
While interested walkers can register online at www.BrevardHeartWalk.org, registration is also available at Space Coast Stadium prior to the Heart Walk at 7:30 a.m. The walk begins at 8:30 a.m.
"Combining fitness and philanthropy, this walk brings together corporate sponsors, walk teams, individual walkers, survivors of heart disease and stroke and lifestyle-change heroes, who are all taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle," Ms. Mozingo said. "All while raising funds to combat heart disease and stroke, which are the No. 1 and No. 4 leading killers, respectively, of American men and women."
While the Brevard Heart Walk is free, Ms. Mozingo said donations are encouraged and graciously appreciated.
"We will have symbolic paper torches available for a donation-based purchase the day of the event to honor loved ones, who have been effected by heart disease or stroke," she added.
The annual Brevard Heart Walk is hosted each year to support the mission of the American Heart Association, which is to reduce death by stroke and cardiovascular heart disease by 20 percent by the year 2020.
"We invite everyone in the community to attend in honor of a survivor or to acknowledge the memory of a loved one," Ms. Mozingo said. "Each year, 1.2 million Americans will surfer a coronary attack and 700,000 will have a stroke. By adopting a lifestyle of physical activity, individuals can reduce their healthcare costs, increase their productivity and improve their overall quality of life and longevity."
The Brevard Heart Walk is Saturday, Sept. 14 at Space Coast Stadium. Walkers can register online or on the day-of, at 7:30 a.m. The Heart Walk is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.
For more information, to donate or to register, visit www.BrevardHeartWalk.org.