MIAMI (WSVN) - Thousands of people laced up their sneakers bright and early on a sunny Sunday morning to walk for heart disease awareness in Downtown Miami.

7News cameras captured a parade of people coming out to Museum Park, along Biscayne Boulevard, to take part in the 2016 Miami-Dade Heart Walk.

The event, organized by the American Heart Association, raises money and awareness in hopes of finding ways to prevent cardiac and vascular diseases through fitness.

“Just a limited amount of activity, walking 30 minutes a day, continuing to have physical activity, is something that can actually improve your survival,” said Dr. Barry Katzen, Chief Medical Executive at the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. “It can reduce the incidence of heart attacks or strokes and keep you more physically fit.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward funding research, education and community programs, while also supporting those who are battling or have beaten the disease.

People like James Harris-Navarro. “This year, 2016, I had a double bypass open-heart surgery. I had a congenital birth defect that caused my arteries to be clogged,” he said. “Thanks to the great team here in South Florida, six months later I am able to walk the Heart Walk, and I’m glad about it, so I’m thankful to the sponsors here, and I’m thankful to everybody who came out to support the Miami Heart Walk, and we really appreciate it.”

7Weather meteorologist Vivian Gonzalez served as the event’s emcee. “We are all here together supporting this great cause for the American Heart Association,” she said, “as we are one step closer to living a life free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

The American Heart Association said, by 2020, it hopes to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox