By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro’s 2nd Annual Heart and Stroke Walk is set for Saturday morning, starting at the Town Common.
“We are expecting amazing weather out there – 70 degrees and mostly sunny,” said Derrick Haskins, Edgecombe County Health Department (ECHD) health promotion coordinator.
Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the one-mile walk will begin around 10 a.m. on the Common at Saint John Street. The walk will circle around the Blount-Bridgers House, go down Main Street and end at the Common.
“It’s downtown. You get to walk through beautiful, scenic Tarboro,” said Heather Pachnar, marketing specialist for Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, which is partnering with ECHD to bring the walk to the community.
Walkers are encouraged to do at least three laps for a total of three miles. All the money raised will benefit the American Heart Association (AHA). Before the walk, AHA representative Marian Barnhill will discuss how the funds will help the local AHA chapter.
Haskins believes the walk will be a “fun and informative way” of raising community awareness of heart disease and stroke.
Erin Grimsley, director of marketing, business development and gifts for the hospital, said she’s excited that the East Carolina University (ECU) cheerleaders will lend their support at the event.
“They will help lead us in our warm up routine before we start our walk,” she said.
Nurses will do blood pressure checks prior to the walk, and participants will have a chance to practice CPR compressions to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive.”
“We’re going to have a demonstration on CPR – what to do if someone shows symptoms of a heart attack or stroke," Haskins said. "We want to make sure people are ready for that scenario."
Heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, commonly known as a stroke, are the Nos. 2 and 3 causes of death in Edgecombe County respectively, according to the 2012 State of the County Health Report.
To Haskins, it’s important to have a “homegrown” event dedicated to the health issues that impact so many county residents.
“It brings people together,” he said. “It shows that people of all walks of life are affected by heart disease. It’s the No. 1 killer of men and women throughout the United States and in North Carolina.”
Tarboro’s first heart and stroke walk raised more than $7,000 for AHA. The walk was held Nov. 4, 2012 in downtown Tarboro and 73 residents participated. The walk was rescheduled for an earlier date this year in hopes of warmer weather.
Haskins said his goal is that the walk will become “a part of our culture” in Tarboro and something people look forward to each year and mark on their calendars.