Northland Heart Walk

By KBJR News 1

September 26, 2010 Updated Sep 27, 2010 at 8:56 AM CDT

DULUTH, MINN.----An American dies every 38 seconds from Cardiovascular disease making it the number one killer in the country.

Millions of people from over 300 cities across the nation join in the fight against the deadly disease by participating in the Heart Walk every year.

Duluth is one of those cities.

Over 1,200 Netherlander's from 49 local companies tied their shoe laces, stretched, and set out together to help fight, and to raise money and awareness of heart disease and stroke.

The 14th Annual Northland Start Heart Walk kicked off in Bayfront Park on Saturday, September 25th.

The amount of donations raised for this event alone total more than $100-thousand.

"We're here to celebrate survivors and raise money for education and awareness and stroke research to help fight heart disease and stroke," said Jen Riemenschneider, the Regional Vice President of the American Heart Association.

In the past five years the AHA has invested over $13-million for new research studies in the state of Minnesota.

Shannon Gustaphson has participated in over 10 heart walks.
She makes it a commitment every year to raise money.

"I fundraiser by asking family and friends to support me with donations, I'm happy and everyone else is happy to donate to the heart association," Gustaphson said.

Another fundraiser, Ken Truscott said if he raised his goal of $5-thousand he would shave his head on stage at the start of the walk.

"I'm directly touched with the heart association; I've been a heart transplant candidate for 12 years," Truscott said.

He has currently raised half his goal, but is not ashamed. He still shaved his head, and says looking at the bigger picture is what event's like today are all about.

"Its awareness, it raises funds, those funds stay in Duluth for research, almost all the money stays here to the universities, the medical schools and the organizations, the health facilities that are out there," said Truscott. "It makes people stop and think, that we are fragile."

However, studies show for every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

"Being healthy isn't going to the operating room–or taking pills it's what you do every day," said St. Luke's heart surgeon Mary Boylan.
"Its getting up, feeling good about yourself, being active, and doing it with your family."

Our very own Michelle Lee was the MC for the event, and was the first to cut a snip of the fundraiser's hair.

Posted and Written to the web: Jennifer Walch