ALBANY — With the recent coronavirus pandemic keeping more Americans at home, the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is embracing the new normal and moving its iconic Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, set for Sunday, June 7, online.
The Capital Region Heart Walk and Run is a fun and meaningful way to celebrate heart and stroke survivors, raise lifesaving funds and encourage physical activity. Participants can walk or run – or bike or do yoga or any kind of activity they wish – where they are, and post photos with the hashtag #HeartWalk518. There will be a program of activities from 9 a.m. to noon on the Virtual Capital Region Heart Walk event page on the AHANewYork Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/events/2471101523158844/.
For Mike Trimarchi, the chief financial officer at CommerceHub, and Jennifer Chatt, executive vice president and chief people officer at CHA Consulting, the Capital Region Heart Walk that is taking place is very different than the one they began planning almost a year ago.
“Going virtual will make this year’s Heart Walk and Run unique and most importantly allows us to continue the tradition of rallying the community around this incredible mission and I’m looking forward to the day,” Chatt said.
“The Heart Association always receives tremendous local support,” Trimarchi added. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we embrace their mission of saving lives and raising awareness about key health issues.”
With a goal of $630,000 in contributions for the Capital Region Heart Walk and nearly $2 million invested in local research and programs by the American Heart Association each year, the funding raised in this event ultimately will be invested back into the Capital District.
“We were always fortunate to have Jenn and Mike co-chairing the 2020 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run,” Theresa Petrone Butts, chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, and Leader of IT Vendor Management at MVP Healthcare, said. “As the whole world changed, they and the entire ELT have adapted and innovated, and I know the Heart Walk will continue to save lives in the Capital Region and beyond.”
The co-chairs, both of whom were born and raised in the Capital Region, are joined by an Executive Leadership Team that includes:
Scott Centea, AngioDynamics
Craig Johnson, RN
Sara Rindenello, Albany Med
Mandeep Sidhu, M.D., Albany Med
Jeffrey Winacott, RN, Saratoga Hospital
Like so many others, the co-chairs and the companies they represent have personal connections to heart disease and stroke, which unfortunately remain two leading causes of death.
“In 2012, my grandmother had a triple bypass,” Chatt said. “She was living in Florida at the time and has since moved to New York where she has received incredible care, much due in part to the research work of the American Heart Association. She just turned 86 in December and is doing well.”
“CHA’s vision is ‘Responsibly Improving the World We Live In,’” Chatt, a Saratoga resident who grew up north of the Capital District and has an MBA from the University at Albany, said. “As we currently work through a significant corporate initiative in support of building a sustainable workforce, filled with healthy, safe, and engaged employees, working with the American Heart Association is a natural fit. The work they are doing, around the prevention of cardiovascular disease, and even more timely in researching COVID-19, will benefit all of us. CHA always has a lot of fun at that Heart Walk, and in many ways, the Virtual Walk is a chance for even more people to participate, since they can walk, run, bike or do any kind of activity where they are, then share their experiences on social media.”
CHA Consulting also has 300 local employees, and more than 1300 in the eastern half of the United States. Their past CEO, Ray Rudolph, chaired the Capital Region Heart Walk in 2015.
As for his passion for the American Heart Association, Trimarchi, who was born in Albany, grew up in Colonie and has a degree from the University at Albany, said, “This cause is very personal for me as I lost both my grandfathers and an uncle to heart disease. I want to limit others experiencing that type of loss and also do everything possible to see my three kids grow up. The effort of the American Heart Association is focused on helping all of us take those steps and well beyond.”
“CommerceHub also has a number of deep connections to the impacts of heart disease and stroke, so our team was quick to support the American Heart Association,” he said. “This aligns perfectly with our goals around promoting the health and wellness of our employees and our community and we expect the decision to go virtual will dramatically increase participation on June 7th.”
Trimarchi and Chatt also share a work history.
“Jenn and I worked together at AngioDynamics, along with Scott Centea, who is still at Angio and has joined our Executive Leadership Team for the Heart Walk,” Trimarchi said. “It’s great to be back together – and have other community leaders with us – and to be making a difference for our community.”
“This year’s Heart Walk and Run is different than we thought it would be,” Chatt said. “But the purpose is the same, and we can make a great investment now in the future of the whole community. I’m looking forward to the day.”
People can register or donate to the Capital Region Heart Walk at CapitalRegionHeartWalk.org. There will be a full program of activities on Sunday, June 7 from 9 a.m. to noon on the Virtual Capital Region Heart Walk event page on the AHANewYork Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/events/2471101523158844/.
About the Capital Region Heart Walk
The 2020 Virtual Capital Region Heart Walk is set for Sunday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants are invited to walk or run where they are and share their photos to social media with the hashtag #HeartWalk518. There will be a program of events on the AHANewYork Facebook event page for the Virtual Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, https://www.facebook.com/events/2471101523158844/. Mike Trimarchi, CFO of CommerceHub, and Jennifer Chatt, executive vice president and chief people officer of CHA Consulting, are co-chairing the event. Rosella Elliott is the Stroke Ambassador and 5-year-old Aubree Spence is the Heart Hero. Melissa Lee of CBS 6 and Sean and Andrea McMaster of B95.5 will emcee the event. Albany Med is the Life Is Why sponsor. Local sponsors include SEFCU, CHA Consulting, CommerceHub, CDPHP, St. Peter’s Health Partners, AngioDynamics, Homestead Funding and Ellis Medicine. Media sponsors are CBS 6, B95.5 and the Times Union. To register or donate, visit CapitalRegionHeartWalk.org or contact [email protected] or [email protected]