Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued by the American Heart Association.
More than 3,500 Mercer County and surrounding area families, businesses and organizations took a heart-healthy walk while raising over $355,000 to support the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association at the 21st annual Greater Mercer Heart Walk on Sept. 9 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor.
"The outpouring of support is inspiring," noted Bernie Flynn, chair of the event and president and CEO of New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group. "Seeing thousands of people join together to fight heart disease and stroke - our community's No. 1 and No. 4 leading causes of death-warmed my heart."
Nationally supported by Subway and Jenny Craig and locally presented by Bristol-Myers Squibb, New Jersey Manufacturer Insurance Group, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Roma Bank and Capital Health, monies raised through the event funding lifesaving education, research, professional development, community health development and advocacy efforts focused on cardiovascular health.
One of the day's highlights was an inspiring message from Danny Danko, an 18 year old heart disease survivor from Hamilton who served as the event's Heart Walk Survivor Ambassador.
"Heart disease is a challenge, but thanks to the American Heart Association and the lifesaving research they've funded, I'm here today, standing before you to say thank you," Danko said to the crowd. "I still need one more open heart surgery, but I know that with the technology and advancements we've made along the way in heart and stroke care, that I'll be okay."
An estimated 80 million adults have one or more types of cardiovascular diseases and nearly 2,400 Americans die each day from these deadly diseases. But studies have shown that nearly 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented if certain risk factors are controlled and that physically active people can reduce their cardiovascular disease risk up to 30 percent.