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Weeks winding down to annual Heart Walk

PLATTSBURGH Faith Osborne-Long is counting down the days to an event she looks forward to each year the American Heart Associations Start! Heart Walk. The annual event gets bigger and bigger each year, said Osborne-Long, who serves as regional director for the Northeast affiliate of the American Heart Association. This years walk will be at a new location the walk has moved from the PARC Oval at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base to the State University of New York at Plattsburgh Field House on Rugar Street. Osborne-Long credits the move to the generous support of SUNY Plattsburgh, this years Heart Walk chairperson, Anne Hansen, who serves as the SUNY College Foundation director and vice president for institutional advancement. The Field House location gives us a large indoor space to set up a heart health fair, complete with demos of square dancing, martial arts and a variety of fitness classes, said Osborne-Long. It also gives us a great staging area for Star 92.9 with morning personality Lana Wilder to play music and emcee our event. Several childrens activities will help round out the event, including face painting and bounce houses. The Malone Parachute Club will once again be on hand performing a parachuting demonstration on the SUNY soccer field. Other new features of the event include new vendors like Hood, offering milk product samples, and a display of the Best Western NASCAR car and a Harley Davidson show bike. The event will also offer several free giveaways, with the support of businesses like Subway, Hannaford and Adirondack Coffee Roasters. The Heart Walk will again feature remarks from Hansen and guest speakers Erin Connors of WPTZ Newschannel 5, and Dr. Russell Hartung, assistant director of the CVPH Emergency Care Center. This years walk will recognize Team Christopher, which is walking in support of Christopher Goheens, 7-year-old congenital heart defect survivor and second-grader at Peru Primary School. The importance of the walk is to not only celebrate the triumphs of those with heart-related illnesses, but to educate as well, said Osborne-Long. Its important to note, she said, that heart disease is the number one killer of all Americans and stroke is number three. Every 33 seconds, a grandparent, aunt, husband or best friend dies of heart disease, and the number of women who die from heart disease has been growing, Osborne-Long said. The American Heart Association is fighting these trends through research, education and advocacy. We are currently funding over $450,000,000 in research projects in the United States. This includes over $35,000,000 in New York state alone. We can only fight heart disease with the help of our community and volunteers, she added. The Plattsburgh Heart Walk will begin Sept. 27 with registration at 8:30 a.m.; the walk will kick off at 10 a.m. The Plattsburgh walk is one of 450 walks of its kind across the nation. The goal of this years walk is to raise $161,000. Osborne-Long said she hopes to build on last years more than 1,000 participants who raised over $132,000 for heart health. Its a fun day for all ages, said Osborne-Long, and you walk to fight heart disease and stroke, but will also come away with some valuable information about how to make small changes that will improve your own health. An informational booth will be set up at Trinity Park in downtown Plattsburgh this Saturday, Sept. 13, during the Battle of Plattsburgh festivities. Those interested in more information about the Heart Walk, including how to register, may stop by the booth or call Osborne-Long at 569-9387. Information may also be found on-line at www.plattsburghheartwalk.org.

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