JACKSON TWP.  More than 2,500 Stark County residents are expected to raise their heart rates, awareness and funds for the American Heart Association’s Stark Heart Walk. The American Heart Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. 

The annual Stark Heart Walk will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 21 at Kent State University’s Stark Campus. The festival area will open at 8:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 9:45 a.m. Kayleigh Kriss from MIX 94.1 is emceeing this year’s event.

The Stark Heart Walk is a free community event with something for everyone. Dr. Dave’s Whiz Bang Science Show will be there! There will also be a kid’s zone, gifts for survivors and a pet costume contest. The American Heart Association is also offering free blood pressure screenings and free hands-only CPR training at the walk.

The Stark Heart Walk aims to raise $250,000 dollars to fight heart disease and stroke, America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, respectively. Each day, about 2,150 Americans die from heart disease from cardiovascular disease- the No. 1 killer in the United States. Stroke, the No. 5 killer and a leading cause of severe disability, claims the lives of nearly 219,000 each year.

In the Canton area alone, heart disease and stroke claim 2,500 lives every year. But in the last year alone, the American Heart Association has trained more than 22,000 community members in CPR, reached more than 21,000 people through blood pressure screenings and funded $22.3 million dollars for research. At the state level, the American Heart Association helped pass Tobacco 21, a law that raises the legal age to buy cigarettes, vape pens and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.

“Mercy Medical Center is the proud lead sponsor of this year’s Heart Walk efforts and also plays an important role in building heart healthier lives in our community,” Dr. Ahmed Sabe, president of The Heart Hospital at Mercy Medical Center said in a news release. “We encourage everyone in the community to lace up their shoes, create a team and walk with us in an effort to raise awareness and help decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

The Stark Heart Walk is among 300 Heart Walks held in communities across the nation. Nearly one million people walk each year walk for a singular mission, to cure heart disease and stroke. Since the inception of the Heart Walk in 1993, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke have plummeted by 45 percent. Each walker and each donation has helped to transform health statistics into lives saved, but there is more work to be done. 

The Heart Walk is open to the community as all are welcome to participate and change the story of heart disease and stroke in the Canton area. Those who walk are committed to funding research that keeps hearts beating.

“What makes Mercy Medical Center so passionate about walking is that the funds raised go to fueling hearts. Real human hearts,” said Sabe. “We know that gratification isn’t about what you get when you give is the satisfaction of knowing that your dollar isn’t just going in your back pocket….your dollar is going to change a life.”

During the past 25 years, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have funded $3.4 billion in research. But the work is far from done. The American Heart Association is nearing the $5 billion mark as we work to fund big ideas to pioneer breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of heart disease and stroke.

For more information or to register for the Stark Heart Walk, visit Heart.org/StarkHeartWalk.