Standing under a tent on a baseball field at Riverview Park on Saturday, Brenda Moore wrote “My Mom & Aunt Anna” on a large red and white sticker she would wear on her back.
Moore and her daughter, Stacy Anderson, were among about 4,000 people who poured onto the North Augusta Greeneway for the CSRA Heart Walk, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.
“It’s been three years since I lost my mom to heart disease, and less than a year – in September – that I lost my aunt Anna, so it’s very fresh,” Moore said. “So this is very important to me.”
Anderson, who works for Shaw Areva MOX Services, said this is the first year she and Moore participated in the walk.
Employees from about 40 companies formed teams and have been raising money since January.
Andi Van Airsdale, the development director for the American Heart Association, said the goal for this year’s walk was $425,000.
“More than what we raise comes back here to the CSRA,” Van Airsdale said. “Last year the CSRA received $7.2 million in research grants from the American Heart Association.”
Survivors of heart disease were honored Saturday with red hats, and victims were remembered with red carnations.
Van Airsdale said the Heart Walk serves as a wellness initiative for many companies.
“Not only do (employees) raise money, but they also get to participate, and we hope learn how to live a healthier lifestyle just by being involved,” she said.
Lavone Cook did. Three years ago she challenged herself to do the 3½-mile walk, but she struggled to complete it.
“That’s when I decided I needed to get more healthy and do a lifestyle change,” she said.
Cook manages the food service department at Georgia Regents University, and her department raised more than $3,500 for the Heart Walk.
Through exercise and changing her diet, Cook lost 40 pounds and has kept it off. On Saturday, she was awarded the Lifestyle Change Award for her commitment to a healthier life.
“I have a lot of passion and heart for this organization, and I get excited about doing it every year,” she said.