GOSHEN Encouraged to “let today be the start of a healthier lifestyle,” over 200 people met at Abshire Park Sunday, Sept. 29, to help raise funds to battle heart disease and stroke.
Sunday marked the annual Elkhart County Heart and Stroke Walk, organized by the American Heart Association, and saw approximately 250 people spread across about 25 company teams participate in the event.
The Heart and Stroke Walk was held at Abshire for the first time after previously being held at Ox Bow Park.
Laura Guy, corporate development director for the American Heart Association, said the event’s organizers wanted to switch venues this year to change things up.
“It’s beautiful out here,” she said. “It’s gorgeous and it’s a little more intimate out here, I think.”
“We were in Ox Bow Park and we just wanted a new venue,” Guy explained. “We just thought we wanted to have a new location, a new feel.”
She added that the event may, in future years, rotate back and forth between an Elkhart location and Goshen location, with the possibility of mixing in a Middlebury location as well.
After opening announcements led by emcee Deb Miles of B100, walkers began their trek down the Pumpkinvine Trail.
The Heart and Stroke walk offered both a “Miracle Mile” distance and a 5k, for those who wished to walk a little farther.
Some walkers carried fake torches to remember loved ones who have lost their battles with the disease or survivors who continue to live with them.
“This is your day to celebrate, to remember,” Miles explained. “Let your torch burn bright.”
The Elkhart County walk takes place along with another walk in St. Joseph County, which will be held next Sunday at the Robert C. Beutter Park in Mishawaka.
Guy said the goal between the two events, which are part of the organization’s Michiana presence, is $135,000 which goes toward making advancements in treatment of both heart disease and stroke.
As of Sunday, participants of the two events have raised over $93,000, leaving Guy optimistic that the American Heart Association will reach its goal for the year.
Those wishing to participate in next Sunday’s walk in Mishawaka may still register at michianaheartwalk.org.