Heart Walk sails past goal in Pa.

September 27, 2004|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - More walkers and more corporate participation resulted in a lot more money for the 11th annual American Heart Walk, which raised approximately $93,000 Sunday, organizers said.

The amount raised was $18,000 above the $75,000 goal set by the Franklin/Fulton Division of the American Heart Association and much more than the $54,000 raised last year, according to Sharon Strike, the division's director of corporate events.

Last year, about 365 people registered for the 4.8-mile walk that begins and ends at the Tayamentasachta Environmental Center. This year, Strike said there were about 420 walkers and 60 corporate teams, up from 50 teams in 2003.


The walk got off to a good start well before anyone took their first step Sunday, Strike said. The main sponsor for the walk, World Kitchen Inc. in Greencastle, made a $10,000 donation and a team from the company worked for months raising another $8,200 in contributions, she said.

Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said he had a good idea of why he was selected to be this year's event chairman.

"I think it was based primarily on the fact that heart attack and heart disease affects so many people throughout Franklin and Fulton counties and they wanted to increase their corporate participation," Ross said.

Next year, another man with close ties to area businesses, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Sciamanna, will chair the event and face the task of beatings Sunday's total.

"We know Dave can do better if he works at it," Ross said.

Dotting the crowd were walkers with red caps, marking them as survivors of heart disease and stroke, or their family and friends.

Ten years ago, Dwight Munson of Upper Strasburg, Pa., said he was shoveling snow when he began to experience chest pains. Doctors discovered he had badly clogged arteries, a problem that worsened until 1995, when he had triple bypass surgery.

He said heart disease contributed to most men in his family not living past the age of 47. Now 58, he said, "I feel better now than I did at 30."

Munson said he expected the walk to take him about 90 minutes to complete.

Also wearing a red cap was 13-year-old Modena Smith of Chambersburg, Pa., who has a condition known as supra ventricular tachycardia.

"Her heart spontaneously beats up to three times its normal rate," said her mother, Leah Smith.

Smith said her daughter has undergone two procedures at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center and takes medications to control the condition. Modena will undergo a third procedure when she gets older.

"There was a day in 1999, the day after my 40th birthday, when doctors told my wife, 'We're sorry, we've done all we can,'" Dr. Lawrence Rogina told the crowd before the walk. The Waynesboro, Pa., obstetrician and honorary chairman of the walk said he nearly died of ventricular tachycardia, but was saved by cardiac ablation, a procedure in which a radio frequency heats and destroys the part of the heart muscle causing the condition.

Strike said most of the money raised from the Heart Walk will go for medical research, as well as public education and advocacy programs.

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