October 6, 2011

Heart Walk hits stride with $1.5 million raised

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Brandon Lucas, left, and his sister Kaysie Jackson explore the Memorial Walk exhibit at the 2011 Nashville Heart Walk on Vanderbilt’s campus. (Photo by Anne Rayner)

Heart Walk hits stride with $1.5 million raised

Friends, families, co-workers and their pets turned out in droves for the 2011 Nashville Heart Walk last Saturday. Organizers couldn't have asked for better weather for the event that took place on Vanderbilt’s campus.

Clear skies and cool temperatures prevailed as thousands of walkers took to the streets to raise funds for the American Heart Association (AHA).

Although money continues to trickle in to the local AHA offices, administrators said that the Heart Walk drew nearly 10,000 people and raised more than $1.5 million, representing an almost $200,000 increase from last year.

In 2010, Vanderbilt was the fifth largest organization in the country and the top hospital in the country raising $326,000. This year, Vanderbilt totals are expected to exceed $370,000 and once again hold national benchmarks.

Vanderbilt was well represented with nearly 250 teams and more than 1,250 walkers leading the way.

“This was Nashville's largest Heart Walk in terms of the number of participants,” said Kelley Tune, Senior Heart Walk Director. “With great weather and more people turning out the day of the event, this was the largest fundraising event we've had.”

With several large walks pending elsewhere in the nation and continuing through November, it is uncertain which walk will bring in the most money.

Nashville's annual walk to help in the fight against heart disease and stroke has consistently ranked among the top 20 walks nationwide.

“Vanderbilt's role in helping us organize this event was great,” Tune said. “Larry Goldberg and Paul Sternberg, M.D., were great leaders for the Vanderbilt team. Sandee Tishler and Ed Higgins (Vanderbilt organizers) and their attention to logistics made the event what it was.”

The AHA funds more than $6.1 million in research projects at Vanderbilt.

“Vanderbilt can be proud of the role it played in ensuring that the Nashville Heart Walk was a big success,” said Doug Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. “The money raised at the Heart Walk will directly benefit our research efforts.”