The event sees family and friends gathering to celebrate heart disease and stroke survivors, as well as remember those who passed away from them.Provided photo
ALBANY — The Capital Region Heart Walk and Run is just around the corner on Sunday, June 2, but the public does not have to wait until then to start caring for their mental and physical health.
“We need to draw attention to our health and make sure we know our numbers and our blood pressure readings, our family history, cholesterol levels and monitor them in order to have healthy and long lives,” said Karen Carpenter Palumbo, president and CEO of Vanderheyden, a Wynantskill-based agency that provides educational and residential support for Capital District children and families in community-based settings.
Palumbo is also a co-chair of the Heart Walk and Run. “It’s important to put you and your health first and know your numbers,” she continued. “That way, you would know more if you’re at risk of heart disease and be educated about it.”
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and worldwide, and stroke ranks fifth in the country and second worldwide. The organization aims to raise awareness about the dangers of both afflictions and provide resources for the public to get involved and learn more.
One such example is The Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, to be held at the University at Albany’s Physical Education Building on 1400 Washington Ave. in Albany.
The check-in for the 5K run will open at 7 a.m. while the run itself would begin at 8:30 a.m. Other activities will commence at 9 a.m. whereas the 1- or 3-mile Walk will start at 10:45 a.m. The Heart Walk is free to the public but the 5K Run has a $30 fee. People can park their vehicles in the university’s Dutch Quad lot.
In a press release, the other co-chair, Dr. Sulagna Mookherjee, an Albany Med cardiologist, said she has long been fascinated by the human heart since she was young, saying her father is a cardiologist too. She added, “At my sixth-grade science fair, my dad brought me a bull’s heart from the local butcher so I could show all the parts at the science fair. My topic was the heart and how important it was for life. Since then, cardiology has remained my passion, and I am proud to be part of the American Heart Association’s mission of being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.”
The American Heart Association has also posted a goal of raising $630,000 and as of Thursday, May 23, it has received $378,332 so far. When asked how else the public can get involved, Palumbo said, “The website has all the information the public needs. Also, just come out for the day, join the team, and do a fundraising event. Come on June 2, participate, see it and spread the message.”
Palumbo said that she got involved because her grandmother passed away from a heart attack at 52 and her mother had a heart attack at 52 too. “When I turned 52, I woke up and decided I need to do more about my health,” she said. “I joined BetterU [the Heart Association’s 12-week heart-health improvement program] where I put my health, healthy eating and exercise first. If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? In fact, it was BetterU who asked me to co-chair for the Heart Walk this year.”
Mookherjee said, “The Heart Walk and Run is a great event that draws people from every walk of life and every age group. It’s a moving day, it’s an empowering day, and it’s a day that can make a huge difference in everyone’s lives.”
Palumbo concluded that it’s important for people to be the best advocate for their own health. “Regardless of you putting in $10 or $100, you’re helping the cause either way. So come and learn more about your health!”
For more information, visit www.heart.org/en.