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Life experiences inspire Heart Walk participants

September 26, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Among the participants in Sunday's Mason-Dixon Start! Heart Walk in Greencastle, Pa., were Barbara Petrucci and her macaw parrot Josette. Petrucci, of Chambersburg, Pa., walked with her daughter-in-law, Jody Wolfe, 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, and the Wolfes' puppy, Laci.
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Sonya Dean was unable to talk or use her right side after suffering a stroke at age 35.

Now, less than eight years later, the Greencastle woman is 80 pounds lighter and healthy enough to walk -- a lot.

Dean said she walked around the community from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. almost every day for the past two months. She knocked on doors and asked for donations to benefit the Mason-Dixon Start! Heart Walk, which was held Sunday.

Dean, who raised $5,608, was believed to be the walker who gathered the most donations in support of the American Heart Association, according to event organizer Sharon Strike.

"This year I went to the same people," said Dean, who first participated last year. "They know I'm honest and want to hear my story."

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The 2009 Heart Walk raised $128,000, which was $30,000 less than its goal. Strike said early indications were this year's donations for heart disease and stroke initiatives would be further diminished.

"We think the money will be a challenge this year," she said, citing the down economy as a major factor.

Event chairwoman Pam Anderson said she expected more than 500 people to participate in the walk, which started at the Greencastle-Antrim schools campus. Walkers could choose between four-mile and 1.2-mile routes.

Tom Shearer of Chambersburg, Pa., served as the "Red Cap Spokesperson" for the event. Anderson said she knew Shearer, a triathlete, when he had a heart attack in his 30s.

"That was a big eye-opener for us," she said.

About 40 F&M Trust employees and their families signed up to participate in the Heart Walk. Among them were Janet Stamper and Lorie Heckman, who work in the offices on Memorial Square in Chambersburg.

"It's a good cause, and it's good to get out and walk with friends," Stamper said.

Heckman's mother had heart disease.

"That's one of my main reasons" for walking, Heckman said.

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