The annual Scott County and Joe Reed Memorial Heart Walk is moving online this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Walk, which was originally scheduled for April is now scheduled for Oct. 24. The Walk celebrates heart and stroke survivors and helps raise funds, while also encouraging physical activity.
While participants in the event will not physically meet, they are encouraged to do activities at home, around their block, or at a local gym.
“This virtual format allows everyone to continue to have fun and support our lifesaving mission, while adapting to spending more time at home. We are grateful for the support from our community and can’t wait to see how everyone makes the Heart Walk their own,” said Heart Walk Director Lisa Edwards in a press release.
Because the event is virtual this year, participants can go at their own pace, walking any length they wish, wherever they want.
“Participants can pick their route and their distance. This means participants can walk whenever they want, wherever they are and any amount of distance on Saturday, Oct. 24,” said Bridget Foster, Director of Marketing an Communications for Georgetown Community Hospital.
In light of the walk being moved to a virtual setting, the American Heart Association hosted a Rally Day on Sept. 24. The rally was held to recruit walkers and teams from over Scott and Clark counties.
The rally was a virtual one, hosted on the American Heart Association Facebook page. The goal was to recruit at least 75 walkers for the upcoming event. The AHA also gave shout-outs throughout the day last Thursday on their Facebook page, highlighting teams with the most walkers and top fundraisers to date.
According to Edwards, the American Heart Association is open to having virtual opportunities in the future for the Heart Walk.
“We’ve had family and friends of our survivors walk in honor of them on Heart Walk day from other states which is pretty amazing and reminds our survivors how important they are to us.”
As a little added bonus to the Heart Walk, Scott and Clark counties also have some friendly competition along the way. The compeititon is based around fundraising, but there is more competition and higher stakes added.
Starting 30 days out from the Oct. 24 event, starting on the Sept. 24 rally date, the AHA’s Heart Walk app will be counting steps for all participants, encouraging them to get out and be active, and the American Heart Association will recognize the community with the most steps and will be rewarded with a ‘traveling trophy.’
“We definitely hope some friendly competition will not only rally the communities to raise dollars to support the AHA mission but to get everyone out and moving, not just on Heart Walk Day, but 30 days leading up to the event,” said Audra Byers, Director of Cardiovascular Services and accreditation.
For anybody looking to participate in the Heart Walk for the first time, doing a virtual one might be a good way to introduce yourself to it, according to Scott County Heart Walk Committee member Leslie Waugh.
“This is a great opportunity for those that haven’t participated because of schedule challenges to get involved since you can walk whenever you would like throughout the day,” said Waugh.
To register for the Heart Walk, you can visit heart.org/ScottandClarkWalk.
Ian Teasley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.