The Centre County Heart Walk is taking strides to spread awareness about heart disease and stroke, and to raise money for two national organizations aimed at fighting cardiovascular disease.
From noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, about 400 people will participate in the walk at the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, 548 Puddintown Road. The walk steps off at 1 p.m.
Stephanie Fost, division director for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in Centre, Blair and Cambria counties, said that heart disease and stroke are the community’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers.
Fost said that between 2006 and 2010, the state Department of Health reported 4,519 deaths in Centre County, of which 3,121, or 69 percent, were cardiovascular or stroke related.
In its 15th year, the walk helps raise awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention, and money for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, Fost said.
Susan Hartman, CEO of HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital, is the 2013 chairwoman.
“Dollars raised by the American Heart Association through events like the Heart Walk fund cardiovascular disease and stroke research, as well as public and professional programs and advocacy,” she said.
The overall goal is to improve heart health of all Americans by 20 percent by the year 2020.
This year, Fost said, the Centre County financial goal is to raise $65,000. Part of that total comes back to the county for research, education and advocacy, Fost said.
The Penn State system received AHA research allocations amounting to more than $2.08 million in 2012, of which $890,000 was committed to work being done at University Park.
Since 2002, Fost said, the American Heart Association has funded more than $6 million in research grants at University Park.
For more information or to register to walk, visit www.heart.org/centrewalk.
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.