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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Johnson County Heart Walk Raises Awareness, Funds to Fight No. 1 Killer

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 26, 2014) – While preparations are underway for the 2014 Johnson County Heart Walk at the University of Central Missouri Saturday, Oct. 4, people throughout the world are planning events earlier in the week to recognize the need to make heart-healthy choices in their lives. World Heart Day is Monday, Sept. 29.

According to the World Heart Federation’s website, World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to raise global awareness about heart disease and stroke, which claim an estimated 17.3 lives annually.  On Sept. 29, individuals are encouraged to reflect on key issues and topics related to creating a heart-healthy environment where they live, work and play.

 One of the goals for World Heart Day is to spread the word about the world’s number one killer, cardiovascular disease, responsible for 80 percent of the premature deaths across the globe, and how to control risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.

Only days after this world observance, hundreds of community residents will come together – many of them in honor of their friends and loved ones affected by cardiovascular disease and stroke  –  as participants in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk Oct. 4. For the second consecutive year, UCM is serving as the site for the event, which is designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living in a family-fun environment.  The Johnson County Heart Walk Committee hopes to raise $55,000 for lifesaving research and programs provided by the American Heart Association.  Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the walk will follow at 9 a.m.  

Amanda Avent, corporate events director, AHA Field Operations, Midwest Affiliate, said community teams made up of friends, family members and co-workers will contribute to the success of this year’s event. Last year, some 574 walkers, along with corporate sponsors, netted more than $43,000 in support of AHA.

“Currently, we’re about 125 walkers away from our goal. We hope to have at least 700 people involved,” Avent said.  She added that at least 45 local corporate sponsors are helping to support this year’s Heart Walk. Among the largest supporters of this annual event is Western Missouri Medical Center.  

“Every day, we strive to promote heart-healthy lifestyles and focus on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Susan M. Stiles, RN, BSN, MHA, MBA, Western Missouri Medical Center President-CEO and chairwoman for the 2014 Johnson County Heart Walk. “Through the use of various diagnostics, such as cardiac-calcium score scans to our board-certified cardiologists, we are providing advanced health care options close to home to ensure the heart health of our greater community.”

UCM provides a park-like setting the Heart Walk, with a number of informational tents and displays that will be located outside the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. UCM nursing students will be there to conduct free blood pressure checks, and there are a number of opportunities for people to obtain information that will help them learn how to engage in heart-healthy lifestyles. Cheerleader performances, music, games, inflatables, and other opportunities for children add to a family atmosphere.

For more information, contact Amanda Avent at 660-441-0090 or email