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Counties compete for virtual Heart Walk

The American Heart Association’s annual Joe Reed Memorial Heart Walk will be a little different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to avoid large gatherings that could spread the disease.

Normally, the walk is in the spring, but this year, it’s going to be a fall event, and it will be virtual.

The walk, sponsored by Clark Regional Medical Center, will also be held on the same day as that of Georgetown Community Hospital, Saturday, Oct. 24, and the two LifePoint Health facilities are making it a friendly competition.

The hospitals will compete to see whether Clark or Scott County has the most teams, the most participants, the most steps and the most money raised for the association.

Walkers may walk on a treadmill in their home, around their neighborhood or wherever they want, and they can download a mobile app to track their steps leading up to and on that Saturday.

“This is a very odd time,” Matt Smith, CEO of Clark Regional, said in a statement, and it is important to maintain good health as “we join together to fight heart disease and advance the work of the American Heart Association.”

The Joe Reed Memorial Heart Walk in Winchester is named for the late father of Winchester City Commissioner JoEllen Reed.

“During the many years that my family and I have been involved in raising money for the American Heart Association, we have been reminded over and over of the importance of research to help advance new and improved techniques to save lives,” said JoEllen Reed, who is also director of advocacy and community relations at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

Reed’s father died of a heart attack, and her mother recently passed after suffering a stroke. Just days ago, JoEllen also lost a close friend to a cardiac event.

She urged people to support the Heart Association because “lives depend on it.”

Competition began Sept. 24 when Heart Walk rallies were held at Clark Regional and Georgetown Community hospitals that recruited 129 walkers that day alone, including 45 for Clark. Other Winchester businesses, including Peoples Exchange Bank and Sekisui, recruited walkers for their own teams that day. Recruiting walkers continues until the Heart Walk takes place Oct. 24.

Last year, there were 120 participants, and Clark Regional raises $24,000 for the association, which funds research, education and advocacy in their communities.

“The heart walk provides a great opportunity for us as a community to support this mission,” said Cody Hecker, rehab supervisor with Clark Regional Medical Center and coach of the hospital’s Heart Walk team.

This year, because the two walks are combined, the AHA hopes to have at least 200 walkers and raise $50,000 or more.

“This virtual format allows everyone to continue to have fun and support our lifesaving mission while adapting to spending more time at home,” Lisa Edwards, Heart Walk director, said.

Participants may register at www.heart.org/ScottAndClarkWalk, and may also download the mobile app from that site to encourage friends and family to join via email or on social media.

The day of the event, participants are encouraged to ear their Heart Walk T-shirts and post pictures or videos to document their activity using the hashtag #ScottAndClarkHeartWalk.

More information about the American Heart Association is available by visiting www2.heart.org.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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