Support the 2010 Heart Walk
MADISON - "My first experience as a Heart Walk team captain was 11 years ago, and ever since then, I've been hooked," confessed UW Hospital and Clinics President and CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky, when she spoke to the 2010 Heart Walk team captains at the kickoff breakfast on Thursday. "The Heart Walk is about having fun while you are doing something that is good for our patients and our community."
This year's Heart Walk is Saturday morning, October 23 at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin. Join one of the UW Health teams, or create your own team.
Major cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the leading cause of death for Americans.
"The money we raise helps the American Heart Association (AHA)...educate people about symptoms and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle," said Katen-Bahensky. "It also helps to fund research, and for UW Health that is very important, because we are a major research institution."
Since 2002, UW Health has worked as a corporate team to raise more than $312,000 in pledges. Last year, UW Health raised more than $70,000 for the AHA, making it the No. 1 Heart Walk team for the second year in a row.
The Walk Supports People
"If you think that UW Health's team success over the past nine years is impressive, you need to meet our Preventive Cardiology team," said Katen-Bahensky. "This group really has been the heart of the UW Health team since the Madison Heart Walk began 15 years ago."
Vonda Shaw, who now manages the UW Health Preventive Cardiology Clinic, served on the walk's first planning committee in 1995 and has helped make the walk what it is today. Since that time, the UW Health Preventive Cardiology team has raised more than $100,000 in support of the Heart Association. Every year you will see almost 200 current and former patients and their families alongside Preventive Cardiology staff at the Heart Walk, joining together for heart health.
"The Heart Walk is a way for our patients to stay engaged and to support efforts against the disease they live with every day. They feel connected and valued, and the Heart Walk is a reflection of how we provide care," said Shaw.
The Walk Supports Heart Disease Prevention
According to a report by the Wisconsin Heart Disease and Stroke Alliance, cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, took the lives of 14,836 people in Wisconsin in 2007.
"Fortunately, 80 percent of heart attacks are largely preventable," said Dr. Jeffrey Grossman, president and CEO of the UW Medical Foundation.
Even though you can't prevent some risk factors - such as family history, age and race - you can make lifestyle changes to reduce other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. The message about disease prevention is one that UW Health shares with patients in primary care clinics on a daily basis.
UW Health partners with the American Heart Association year-round to bring information to women about their unique risk for heart disease. The Go Red For Women movement is just one of many efforts aimed at inspiring individuals to take better care of their hearts and their health.
Amanda Frigge Ruplinger, for one, has been inspired. In January, she was one of three women who took part in the Go Red For Women Makeover challenge. She started the challenge with high blood pressure, which she had been managing with medication for five years; high triglycerides; and a strong family history of heart disease and stroke. Over the course of 12 weeks, Frigge Ruplinger worked with a cardiologist, nutritionist and exercise physiologist to set goals and take action to improve her eating and exercise habits.
"This has been one of the best experiences of my life," claimed Frigge Ruplinger. As captain of UW Health's Hearts In Motion (HIM) team, Amanda is recruiting co-workers, family and even colleagues from Meriter and EPIC to join in the fun at the Heart Walk.
"I will keep working towards optimal heart health," promised Frigge Ruplinger.
The Walk Supports Heart Disease Research and Treatment
When it comes to treating heart disease, research is what leads to life-saving discoveries such as CPR, pacemakers, bypass surgery, artificial heart valves and life-extending drugs.
UW-Madison has been the beneficiary of more than $10 million in funding for 101 new research studies from AHA in the past five years alone. Because of their highly trained specialists, UW Health is able to offer patients in the most severe stages of disease a second chance.
Dan White is a great example. When White was first referred from a regional community hospital, his EF function - the amount of blood that the heart pumps out with each beat - was only 12. Normal is 55. White was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart linked to congestive heart failure, and told that he would be a candidate for a heart transplant.
Under the care of UW Health cardiology specialists, and with a pacemaker and lifestyle changes, White has regained much of his health. He exercises regularly and is committed to maintaining a heart-healthy diet.
This will be the third year that White will walk with UW Health's Advanced Heart Disease team. He has been the top walker for the Madison Heart Walk for two years running and has single-handedly raised more than $19,000. This year, he set a goal of raising $15,000, and is already at $10,000 as of September 28.
"It is an honor for us to have Dan be a part of our Heart Walk team," said Katen-Bahensky, "and an even bigger honor to be able to serve Dan as a patient and help him regain his health."
"Discovering new ways to treat people is incredibly important," shared Grossman. "We can't prevent all heart disease," he acknowledged, "but have come a long way" thanks to the funding from AHA.
"The Heart Walk is a very worthy cause," agreed Katen-Bahensky, "and I am very proud of the work the American Heart Association does and how it complements our work at UW Health."
Support the Walk
Participate in the walk on Saturday morning, October 23 at Warner Park. There is no fee to walk, simply register online. Join one of the UW Health teams already formed, or create your own team.
Date Published: 09/29/2010