Greater Nashville Heart Walk to go virtual on Sept. 12Sep. 2, 2020, 2:46 PM
by Matt Batcheldor
Instead of drawing thousands of walkers to the Vanderbilt campus, the 2020 American Heart Association (AHA) Greater Nashville Heart Walk will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 28th annual event, scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 12, is sponsored by Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI). The walk raised nearly $2 million last year — $70,000 of it from VUMC — to fight heart disease and stroke and to fund public and professional education and community service programs.
Last year’s walk brought more than 10,000 walkers from more than 140 companies to Vanderbilt’s campus. This year’s will be very different.
“We’re asking folks to still walk, but just walk where you are,” said Kristin Palmer, communications director for the local AHA. “If that means your neighborhood, maybe go on a hike that day. Just do some sort of physical activity in honor of the heart walk that same morning.”
To register, visit NashvilleHeartWalk.org. VUMC participants can go here and join the team they like.
Participants this year are encouraged to go to the AHA’s Facebook Page for a virtual opening ceremony, digital start and finish line, mile-marker celebrations and real-time participation by posting photos and videos.
From there, participants can stay up to date by downloading the Heart Walk mobile app and encourage friends and family to join in via email or on social media. On the day of, everyone is encouraged to wear their Heart Walk shirt and post pictures and videos to document activity using #NashHeartWalk.
An additional event in Rutherford County, also sponsored by VHVI, will be held virtually at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26. To register, visit RutherfordHeartWalk.org and document activity on social media with #RuthHeartWalk.
Since the inception of the Heart Walk, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke have plummeted by 45%.
Organizers say the event is more important than ever during this year’s COVID-19 pandemic to encourage healthy habits, keep people socially connected and physically active.
Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, remains the No. 1 killer of Americans.
About 120 million people in the United States currently have one or more cardiovascular conditions and may be at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications.