In order to increase awareness and raise funds for awareness of heart disease, West Chester University will host the Heart Walk on Sunday, October 26.
This is the first year that West Chester University is sponsoring the Heart Walk.
“This is really an extension of the Philadelphia Heart Walk that they have every year,” said Dr. Thomas Purce, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.
In previous years, the nearest Heart Walk has been held at West Goshen Park. However, according to Dr. Purce, the Heart Walk eventually “outgrew the location.”
“They wanted to bring in more vendors and have a more central location,” said Jamie Williams, Interim Assistant Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs.
According to Williams, once it was determined that the Heart Walk would no longer take place at West Goshen Park, people automatically assumed that it would be hosted by West Chester University.
Because of this, Dr. Purce met with Allyson Lindauer, American Heart Association Business Development Director, to discuss the possibility of making the assumption a reality. In August, it was officially confirmed.
To advertise for the event, Dr. Purce e-mailed both students and employees. Meanwhile, Williams included information about the Heart Walk in the weekly newsletters for the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs.
“We also have distributed flyers around campus, and several student organizations have taken up helping with the effort of publicizing,” said Williams. “The American Heart Association had a representative at the volunteer fair, so they had individual students that also signed up to help out with this.”
Rain or shine, open registration will begin at 8 a.m. The event will end around noon, and clean-up will likely last until around 1 p.m.
Friendly to all ages, Williams notes that there will be a kids zone, as well as face painting, music, and food.
Currently, they estimate that at least 1,500 people will attend the West Chester Heart Walk. Dr. Purce naturally adds that they are “open for more.”
According to Dr. Purce, the participants will walk the “so-called super block,” which consists of Church Street, Rosedale Avenue, New Street, Sharpless Street, and High Street.
The walk will begin with a survivors’ lap. Anyone participating in the event who has survived heart-related illnesses, like strokes or heart attacks, will walk first, with West Chester University cheerleaders there to encourage them.
According to Williams, the rest of the participants will then walk three laps of the “super block” that constitutes the 5K.
Dr. Purce and Williams emphasize that the Heart Walk is not strictly limited to West Chester University students.
“Community members and other community organizations and companies will also be in attendance,” said Williams.
Dr. Purce encourages everyone to consider partaking in this year’s Heart Walk.
“We tend to expect support from our family and friends,” said Dr. Purce. “But when people show up for an event where they don’t know who you are or if you’ve had any experience with this, it’s really heart-warming. It really helps spirits for those who are in need.”
According to Williams, it is also a “great way for the university to build positive relationships with the community.”
West Chester University’s goal is to raise $7,500. As of October 10, they have raised approximately $5,500. Chester County’s goal is to raise $175,000. The American Heart Association’s overall goal is to raise $1,850,000.
Williams states that “there are talks” in motion about West Chester University hosting the Heart Walk next year.
“They’re talking about whether or not this time of the year would be most conducive to the size that they’re hoping for,” said Williams. “They’re talking about it coming back, but they want to see how successful it is this year.”
Dr. Purce thinks that South Campus would be the most preferable location since people can “queue up in the parking lot.”
According to Williams, South Campus was not possible this year, because of football season and “everything of that nature.” Therefore, going forward, they may aim for a different time frame.
You can view West Chester University’s page dedicated to the Heart Walk at http://tinyurl.com/wcuheartwalk.
There you can donate money or click the button that says ‘Join or Create Team,’ and you then have the option to join whichever team you would like. There is no fee to register.
There are many school organizations participating in the Heart Walk, such as fraternities, sororities, Biology Club, and Circle K.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Heart Walk or have any questions, feel free to contact Jamie Williams at email@example.com.
Casey Tobias is a first-year, premajor student. She can be reached at CT822683@wcupa.edu.