ALBANY — Walkers and runners filled the Capital District on Sunday as they participated in the 2021 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, a digital event that continued the fight against heart disease and stroke.
The total raised for the Capital Region Heart Walk was $489,051.56 as of Sunday afternoon. Donations will continue to be accepted until June 30 at CapitalRegionHeartWalk.org.
Aedan Conway of Delmar, the Heart Hero for this year’s Capital Region Heart Walk and Run, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which, in his case, meant that one of his heart ventricles didn’t develop properly. Aedan has had three open-heart surgeries.
“The work of the American Heart Association is more important than ever,” said Jennifer Corcoran Conway, mother of 9-year-old Heart Hero Aedan Conway and chair of the Capital Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. “The pandemic created the exact kind of situations that exacerbate heart disease and stroke – many of us were more sedentary, we may have gained a little weight, and we faced new stresses as we combined working from home with supervising our children’s schooling. Today, we literally took steps to improve our own health, and by investing in the work of the American Heart Association, we invested in the health of our entire community.”
In Clifton Park, Braden Russom and his family walked at Clifton Park Commons in Clifton Park. Russom, 40, is the Stroke Ambassador to the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run this year. He has had four strokes since he was in college. Last year, he had surgery to repair the hole in his heart suspected of causing the strokes. Russom’s wife and daughters, who are 4 and 7, live with Long QT Syndrome.
“I was so grateful to see everyone come out for the Heart Walk to raise funds and support the kind of research that keeps me, my wife, and my kids protected from the life-threatening complications of the heart conditions we were all born with,” Russom said.
The American Heart Association funds research and education about heart disease and stroke; advocates for policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice; and is committed to ending systemic racism and providing equitable health for all.
“When I was a practicing cardiologist, I saw firsthand how devastating cardiovascular disease can be,” said Dr. John Bennett, president and CEO of CDPHP and chair of the 2021 Heart Challenge, which includes the Capital Region Heart Walk and Run. “Today, I was inspired to see so many people committed to ending that devastation by walking or running where they were, and fundraising to support the American Heart Association’s investments in research and education. A big thank you also goes out to all of the executive leaders and sponsors of today’s Heart Walk and Run.”
— Katherine McCarthy
American Heart Assoc.