Reading, Pa. — More than 200 walkers turned out at Gring’s Mill Recreation Area on Saturday, Sept. 23 to raise funds to fight heart disease and stroke and honor those whose lives have been touched by these diseases. The annual Berks County Heart Walk raised more than $51,000 for the American Heart Association. The fundraising total is expected to climb as additional donations are accepted through Nov. 10.
The walk was led by April Andrews of Douglassville, who survived a stroke this past June after returning home from a trip to Canada. By the time she arrived home, her face had begun drooping and she felt weakness on her left side. Her family recognized that these symptoms were warning signs of a stroke and called 9-1-1. Doctors at Reading Hospital confirmed that she was having a stroke and, after treatment, she was transferred to HealthSouth Reading Rehabilitation Hospital for occupational, physical and speech therapy. She returned home after three weeks of therapy, but continues her outpatient therapy to this day.
The walk’s chairperson, Amy Teal, CEO of HealthSouth Reading Rehabilitation Hospital, shared April’s story during the event’s opening ceremonies before April, surrounded by family, friends and HealthSouth team members, took off on the walk through Gring’s Mill Recreation Area. Walkers had a choice of a 1-mile or 3-mile walking route through the park. Participants could also take advantage of other healthy activities before and after the walk, including Hands-Only CPR demonstrations, free blood pressure screenings, yoga led by instructors from Body Zone, healthy snacks and activities for kids.
The offering of healthy activities and education for all ability levels and interests at the Heart Walk is part of the American Heart Association’s new Healthy For Good initiative to encourage individuals to make lasting change to their health and life, one small step at a time. Healthy For Good is focused on four key areas: eat smart, add color, move more, and be well.
Dollars raised at the Berks County Heart Walk will support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, through supporting heart disease and stroke research, health care quality improvement, advocacy, prevention and education.
The 2017 Berks County Heart Walk is sponsored locally by East Penn Manufacturing, HealthSouth Reading Rehabilitation Hospital, EnerSys, Reading Health System, Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare and Stevens & Lee. Media partners include WFMZ-TV and Y102.
For more information about the Berks County Heart Walk, visit www.heart.org/berkspawalk or call 215-527-1712.