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Annual Sanibel Captiva Heart Walk set for this weekend

By Staff | Jan 27, 2016

The 3rd annual Sanibel Captiva Heart Walk is set for Jan. 31, at Tarpon Bay and Island Inn Roads featuring festivities and a walk. PHOTO PROVIDED

The annual Sanibel Captiva Heart Walk will step onto the island once again to help spread awareness about the nations No. 1 killer, all while raising money for the American Heart Association.

Lee County Heart Walk Director Kelly Goodwien said the first two years of the Sanibel Captiva Heart Walk were very successful due to the event generating about $13,000 the first year and a little more than $18,000 the second year. As of early last week, $22,000 had already been raised, 12 days before the event.

Last year, the Heart Walk attracted 100 participants, which Goodwien predicts will better than double this year with anywhere between 200 and 300 attendees. She said the increase in participation has stemmed from the formation of many teams from the churches on the island, Rotary, Zonta, Kiwanis and such banks as Bank of the Island and Bank of America.

The third annual Sanibel Captiva Heart Walk will take place Sunday, Jan. 31, at Tarpon Bay and Island Inn Roads, the site of the new Doc Ford’s. Festivities begin at 1 p.m., followed by the walk at 2 p.m.

“The idea is to raise money for the American Heart Association and raise awareness and promote our mission,” she said of the event. “We want to raise awareness and really give people the tools they need to lead a healthier lifestyle.”

Goodwien said it is important for individuals to know their numbers, eat right, decrease the amount of sodium intake, and incorporate the right amount of exercise into their lifestyle.

“Heart disease is the number one killer in all Americans,” she said. “Eighty percent of cardiovascular disease is preventable.”

Individuals can sign up the day of the event. The event is free to attend with a suggested $50 donation. Sponsorships can also be sought the week of the event with the opportunity to set a table up the day of the walk.

The festivities before the walk include a silent auction, face painting, games, strolling magicians, local musicians, and photos taken though a giant heart. Dr. Paul DiGiorgi and Dr. Brian Hummel of the Lee Memorial Shipley Center will provide additional information about the great things they are doing at HealthPark.

A $2.5 million donation by the Shipley Foundation, headed by Richard Shipley of Sanibel, made the Shipley Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery Innovation, Education & Research possible. According to Lee Memorial Health System, the goal of the center is to improve the outcomes of patients through an in-depth understanding of their risk factors, co-morbidities and personal health needs prior to surgery. The research outcome will then be shared with the medical community through medical journal publications and scientific presentations locally, nationally and internationally.

In addition, the center is also focusing on health education through live-case teaching, simulators and destination and distance learning opportunities for healthcare professionals.

Goodwien said the festivities will also include a survival speaker from Sanibel, a child survival story, Pledge of Allegiance led by the Sanibel Boy Scouts, followed by The Sanibel School singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

“It’s a great community event encompassing a lot of great groups on the island,” she said.

The noncompetitive 5K walk will begin at 2 p.m. Goodwien said individuals are encouraged to walk the distance of their choice up to 3.1 miles.

“Some people walk a mile, half a mile,” she said.

For more information about the walk, email Goodwien at kelly.goodwien@heart.org, call (239) 495-4901, or visit www.SanibelCaptivaHeartWalk.org.

The event is part of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “My Heart. My Life. Movement.” Those simple changes will help the American Heart Association reach its 2020 Impact Goal: “To improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, all by the year 2020.”

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.