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North County residents take steps to lower risks of heart disease

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Pier was the place to be on Sept. 30, when droves of North County residents took part in the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Healthy For Good North County Heart and Stroke Walk. The Pacific Ocean was the perfect backdrop supplying spectacular views and ocean breezes to cool down walkers for their non-competitive 5K where everyone was a winner. 

Preliminary numbers show 3,300 walkers participated and $200,000 was raised.

Tri-City Medical Center sponsored the free walk to raise awareness about a heart-healthy lifestyle. Monies were also raised to fuel research and fund programs for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. 

Peppered throughout the crowd were individuals wearing red and white caps, designating heart and stroke survivors. According to Eric Thompson, the senior director of communications and marketing at the AHA, the caps were an important component to the 5K. Survivors are an inspiration to others.

“The caps show how they (survivors) are alive today because the American Heart Association funded research, whether it be medical advances in surgery, medical advances in pharmaceuticals or medical advances in people understanding the importance of being active,” Thompson said. 

Thompsons wants people to know that the purpose of the walk was to get North County residents really thinking about their heart health. Tri-City Medical Center is very focused heart health, he said, and that was why AHA and Tri-City were collaborating.

While walkers took on their own 5K personal challenge, Thompson said he was hopeful that after the event people would have a clearer perspective on a number of things.

“Most importantly, heart health does start with you,” he said. “They (attendees) will be exposed to some of the things that they can do to live a healthier lifestyle, ways they can improve their heart health and the benefits of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

“We really want them to understand that it’s not too late to start,” he added. “And our Heart Walk was a great way to start.”

To learn more about the AHA and living a heart-healthy lifestyle, visit www.heart.org or call (858) 410-3827.

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