2019 Miami-Dade Heart Walk & 5K Run raises over $320K for research

MIAMI (WSVN) - Thousands of people laced up their sneakers and headed to downtown Miami to walk — or run — to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a good cause.

The American Heart Association’s Miami-Dade Heart Walk & 5K Run was held Sunday morning, with 7’s own Lynn Martinez as the event’s emcee.

Participants helped spread awareness of the importance of having a healthy heart.

“Today we’re having the annual Miami-Dade Heart Walk, an amazing event where we’ll have thousands of people come out here to continue to create awareness, educate,” said said Alex Almazan, chair of Miami-Dade Heart Walk. “fund raise for the innovation and the research to continue the mission of the American Heart Association: to have everybody live long and healthier lives.”

“Whether it’s a one-mile or a 5K, the community is out here celebrating our mission, which is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives,” said Jennifer Campbell, executive director of the American Heart Association.

Organizers and sponsors shared important statistics and ways to keep one’s heart healthy and educate others to do the same.

“About a third of our residents throughout the country suffer from some sort of heart disease,” said Frank Fernandez, board member of the American Heart Association. “Officers have a higher propensity of being prone to this type of heart disease.”

Experts say high-stress jobs raise the risk of heart disease. One in 10 police officers who die while on duty do so from a heart attack.

“A simple 30-minute exercise every day, education, proper eating could reduce that number,” said Fernandez.

“We believe it’s very important to start off young police officers with the mindset of working out, exercising, dieting, sleeping, eating correctly and keeping heart disease in mind,” said Miami Police Deputy Chief Ronald Papier.

Survivors at Sunday’s walk cautioned others not to ignore the warning signs of a heart problem. They encouraged others to go get checked out by a medical professional, even if they don’t think something is a cardiovascular issue.

“I called my doctor, who told me to get to the hospital. I got there as quickly as I could, and they told me I’d had a heart attack,” said heart disease survivor Sharon Patish. “I didn’t even know that. I was sure I hadn’t, but we always like to think the best. We might be wrong.”

The event raised over $320,000 for cardiovascular research.

The American Heart Association reminds the community that heart disease is the world’s number one killer. A stroke is the second.

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