WATERTOWN — Despite the rain, supporters of lifesaving missions through the American Heart Association gathered in the Jules Center at Jefferson Community College on April 29 ahead of the 2023 North Country Heart Walk.
“There are a lot of emotions. Excitement is one of them,” said Wendy Hinman, 2023 North Country Heart Walk chairperson. “For me, it’s a way to celebrate people around you with heart disease, and all come together for a common cause, whether it’s a loved one, yourself, and raising money for the cause.”
More than 400 attended the event, but many more have supported this year’s event through local fundraising efforts, which total more than $150,000.
“The money is used for groundbreaking scientific research and everything that can help us save lives,” Ms. Hinman said.
Ms. Hinman stated she has a history of supporting the American Heart Association through her connection and feelings as a heart-attack survivor and from experiencing heart disease through other family members.
“I think those of us who are passionate about the organization and what it stands for are here, rain or shine,” Ms. Hinman added.
Several teams were formed ahead of the event. One group in particular, Ryan’s Squad, was established for local teenager, heart disease survivor, and Heart Walk Ambassador Ryan Podvin.
Ryan addressed the participants ahead of the walk, saying, “I would like to thank my friends and family who have supported me the past few years. It has been really difficult, but you made it easier.”
A tribute table was featured for Adeline Rose Ormsby, Ellisburg, 2019 Heart Walk Inspirational Honoree, who died two weeks shy of her ninth birthday on Sept. 11, 2022.
Team Dominic was created for the 2013 North Country Heart walk, when the team namesake, Dominic Fazio, was 6 months old. Dominic was born with congenital heart defect.
“This was Team Dominic’s 11th heart walk,” Dominic’s mother, Erin, said. “We walk every year to honor all of our friends and family who have heart disease and we raise money to help fund life saving research.”
Mrs. Fazio said the team consists of numerous family and friends.
“There were several other team members who were not able to make it to the heart walk this year,” said Mrs. Fazioi. “One in particular, Debbie “Debbio” Fazio, Dominic’s great aunt who passed away last July. She was a very important part of our team each year and is deeply missed.”
Carthage Area Hospital was among the businesses and organizations which had informational tables at the walk.
The hospital has sponsored the walk for many years and has had teams each year with nine teams registered this year, raising more than $5,400. Heart Walk Chair Ms. Himan is a hospital employee who works in revenue cycle.
Though the 2023 Heart Walk is complete, fundraising efforts continue for research, CPR training, advocacy, and promotion of better health. Those interested in supporting may learn more at www.northcountryheartwalk.org
Team Dominic is selling raffle calendars until May 31. During the month of June, there will be a drawing for a prize each day. To purchase a calendar call 315-391-1118. So far the team has raised over $2000 from the sale of the calendars and other fundraisers.
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