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Big Steps Against Heart Disease: SBUMC and Community Raise $114,000 At Suffolk County’s Only AHA Heart Walk

Big Steps Against Heart Disease: SBUMC and Community Raise $114,000 At Suffolk County’s Only AHA Heart Walk

Faculty, Staff, Students and Families Walk to Support Heart Disease Research, Education

, November 12, 2010 – While the winds were whipping and the chill of fall took hold, more than 1,000 of Stony Brook University faculty, staff, and students, along with the community, got warm by trekking briskly during Suffolk County’s only 2010 American Heart Association (AHA) Start! Heart Walk. The October 16 event, held on SBU’s West Campus, raised more than $114,000 for heart disease research and education.

Each fall the AHA sponsors its Start! Heart Walk in hundreds of communities nationwide. The event promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living in a fun environment, as well as awareness of heart disease – the number one killer of Americans – and disease prevention. The Stony Brook event was organized by the AHA and staff at Stony Brook University Medical Center, with Stony Brook University-wide support.

“During this inspiring event I met so many people who shared their stories of how heart disease affected their lives and the lives of their families,” says Lee Anne Xippolitos, R.N., Ph.D., Chair of the 2010 Heart Walk at SBU, Chief Nursing Officer and Dean, School of Nursing. “Thanks to an outpouring of generosity, we were able to exceed our fundraising goal.”

Dr. Xippolitos also thanked the support and work of the event’s co-chairs, Todd Rosengart, M.D., Chair, Department of Surgery, and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic surgery and Co-Director, Stony Brook University Heart Center, and Luis Gruberg, M.D., Director, Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratories and Co-Director, Stony Brook University Heart Center.

Overall, the Walk participants included 156 teams, 1,374 walkers, and some representatives from the canine world, 25 dogs striding for the “Paws for a Cause” team. A two-legged canine also attended and entertained the crowd – Wolfie, the Stony Brook University mascot. Stony Brook University student participants and volunteers exceeded 400 and encompassed 21 walking teams. Kicking off the event were the Stony Brook Cheerleaders and Marching Band.

One of the most inspiring teams was a group of SBU Heart Center patients who previously had been out of breath, unable to walk, and in some cases near death due to congestive heart failure and or other forms advanced heart disease. Some of these patients received life-saving cardiac devices or recovered significantly enough from heart failure to walk. They celebrated by walking part of the course with family, friends, and members of the Heart Center team. 

Throughout the event, SBUMC nurses and other staff provided educational information on nutrition, fitness and heart-healthy living, as well as provide blood pressure screenings. A health fair included vendors and health organizations promoting health and wellness. A Kid Zone featured fun activities such as face painting, magic tricks, arts and crafts and caricature drawing.

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