February 20, 2014
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 600,000 Americans die from heart disease every year. Heart conditions are so prevalent in the U.S., most Americans know at least one person who lives with or has passed away as a result of one.
For over 20 years, Hamilton College community members have participated in America’s Greatest Heart Run/Walk to support American Heart Association initiatives and show their dedication to curing heart disease. In 2013, Team Hamilton College raised over $9,000. Of the money raised for this year’s event, 25 percent will support heart disease research, 40 percent will promote public health education and training and 10 percent will facilitate community service. This year’s Heart Run/Walk will take place at Utica College on Saturday, March 1.
The Hamilton College Heart Run/Walk 2014 planning committee includes Colleen Pellman, lecturer in music; Ernest Williams, William R. Kenan professor of biology; John O’Neal, professor of French; Erin Glaser, head women’s volleyball coach and lecturer in physical education; Amy James, director of outreach and orientation. Williams, O’Neal, Glaser and James serve as this year’s team captains.
Many of the committee members have a personal stake in the cause. James told The Spectator, “My mother died of heart disease, and I always thought I should walk for her.” However, the past few years, she has had to forego participating in order to serve as the “roadie” for her son’s band, which provides entertainment for the event. “This year, he can drive,” she said.
Glaser has been involved with the Run/Walk since 2009. She explained, “I have a personal interest in this cause because heart disease runs in my family.”
Pellman, who has taken part in the Run/Walk since the late-1990s, said that heart disease runs in her husband’s family and that she enjoys supporting the cause annually.
Williams also has a familial connection to the cause. “My father died of a heart attack,” he shared. “At the time, his doctor told me to start exercising, or the same thing would happen to me.” He has been a runner for 40 years now and particularly loves participating in the 10-mile leg of the Heart Run/Walk. (The 3-mile, on the other hand, has “too many people.)
Sarah Peacock ’08 is a Hamiltonian who has felt the positive effects of the American Heart Association’s work and champions events like the Heart Run/Walk. Over email, she shared her story: “Last year when I was living abroad, one of my prosthetic heart valves broke suddenly, and I experienced the symptoms of congestive heart failure for about a month. After that, my symptoms became so severe that I was admitted to the hospital where, after another two weeks, I had surgery to replace the broken valve. Three months that, I was in better condition than I had been before the whole thing began.”
Students, faculty, administrators and staff can get involved by signing up to walk (three or five miles) or run (three, five, 10 or 18 miles), or by acting as sponsors. Each participant has a minimum fundraising goal of $25, and there is no minimum donation amount for sponsors. Already, a number of sororities, fraternities, athletic teams, committees, faculty and staff have already signed up to take part in the Run/Walk.
“If you take part in it yourselves, you’ll feel the magic and the energy it generates as literally thousands of people take off running or walking for this important cause,” O’Neal said. “Many of them have lost love ones to heart disease. One cannot help being moved by the emotional atmosphere of this very special event.”
Pre-registration for the event begins Tuesday, Feb. 25. Registration forms are available in Café Opus 1, Café Opus 2 and the Blood Fitness Center, as well as online at www.uticaheartrunwalk.org. The first 45 Hamilton registrants will receive “HamiltYn” snapback hats. The event also has a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/heartrunwalkhamilton, where registered parties can find more information about the event and connect with other participants.