Twin Cities Start! Heart Walk set for April 25

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The American Heart Association Start! Heart Walk is right around the corner, but there’s still time to join a team or donate. Go to twincitiesheartwalk.org and click on “Participant Info” (if you’re interested in walking) or “Event Donation” if you’d like to make a monetary donation. The Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, April 25 at Harriet Island Park in St. Paul.

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with screenings. There is no event registraion or check-in. The event is free and open to all, but donations and Walk Teams are encouraged. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. and will cover three miles. Festivities, including music and food, will continue until noon. Once they have raised a minimum of $100, participants will receive a T-shirt a few weeks after the event.

Start! Heart Walk Co-chair Pat Mackin, Medtronic’s senior vice president and president of Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management, says the Start! Heart Walk is important to Medtronic on a number of levels.

“We create technologies to help alleviate pain, restore health and extend life in patients with heart disease,” he says.

On a personal level, Pat has seen first-hand the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease—his mom had a debilitating stroke in her 50s and spent the remainder of her years in a nursing home, and his dad had sudden cardiac arrest and died of a heart attack at age 59. “There were no warning signs. He was here one day, gone the next,” Pat, 42, says.

Pat can’t stress enough the importance of knowing your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, your body mass index and more), exercising (he stays fit by running, skiing, playing hockey, and chasing his three kids—Sloan, 8, Reese, 7, and JP, 4), not smoking, and eating right. He and his wife, Nicole, stress the importance of eating healthy with their kids. Co-chair Jennie Carlson, U.S. Bank’s executive vice president and director of human relations, has watched her dad struggle with heart disease and realizes that her family history puts her at risk. She walks regularly with her husband Richard, eats a balanced diet, and hopes that her 13-year-old daughter, Stephanie, is learning good lifestyle habits.

Jennie is a firm believer in the message of the American Heart Association and hopes that the Start! Heart Walk encourages her employees to get started in a walking program.

“Every little bit helps,” she points out.

Funds raised by the Heart Walk support research, professional and public education, and advocacy. This year’s goal is to raise $2 million.

For more information, call (952) 278-7914 or email Karie at karie.bundridge@heart.org.

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