This year's McDuffie County Heart Walk isn't dedicated to one individual. Instead it will be held in memory of all those who have lost their lives to heart disease as well as in honor of all those who have survived.
That won't lessen the drive of the event's coordinators to raise more money for the American Heart Association. Local AHA representative Patricia Rinker told a group of volunteers gathered at the Depot on Friday that the goal for the Feb. 25 event is $43,000.
The Heart Walk started nationally in 1992 and has since raised millions of dollars from volunteers gathering sponsorship money to participate in the walk. Ms. Rinker - in her fifth year of organizing the McDuffie Heart Walk - said the event is important because heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the country.
"The Heart Association is great. The research is important. Every little bit helps," said this year's Heart Walk Chair Moses Booth.
The volunteers at the kickoff on Friday were treated to the story of Mr. Booth's heart attack and return to a healthy lifestyle. He hopes to get more people involved in raising funds for the AHA and promote physical fitness through the walk.
Team captains for the walk are responsible for recruiting 10 team members from their respective organization or company.
Volunteers are asked to raise a minimum of $100 which earns them a T-shirt. Raising $1,000 earns volunteers a cruise to the Bahamas.
Other events held leading up to the Heart Walk also helped raise money for the AHA. Thomson's Taste of Fall, held at the old box factory on Oct. 6, raised nearly $4,000. On Feb 3., everyone will be encouraged to donate money to wear red.
Ms. Rinker said one of the important things to remember about the Heart Walk is that 70 cents out of every $1 raised comes back to the community.
"The funds raised for this particular event go for research and education," Ms. Rinker said. "And that benefits everybody."
This year's event will be held at 9 a.m. next to Thomson Middle School once again. Participants will warm up and trek three miles through the Hickory Hills subdivision.