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Rain doesn't stop 2006 Heart Walk

Saturday's rain didn't stop those determined to fight America's number one killer. Approximately 100 people walked three miles through Hickory Hills subdivision, bundled against the cold temperatures and sheltered under umbrellas during the McDuffie County Heart Walk. The annual event is the signature fund-raiser for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.


HealthLink Director DeDe Keir helps walkers get warmed up prior to the event Saturday.

"We really did have a good turn out for this kind of weather," said Patricia Rinker, regional director for AHA/ASA. "I think the attendance is up from last year, even though last year was a much prettier day."

This year's event raised $28,000, and Ms.Rinker said donations are still coming in. Last year's walk in McDuffie raised $32,000. In addition to helping a good cause, incentives included a T-shirt to those who raised at least $100, and a Bahama Cruise to those who raised at least $1,000. Mrs. Rinker estimates 14 teams participated with at least 10 members each, and she gave away approximately 100 T-shirts and one cruise. The top three teams were McDuffie Regional Medical Center, First Baptist Church and Milliken and Company.

According to the September 1999, U.S. Decennial Life Tables, cardiovascular disease is the underlying cause of death for 37 percent of all deaths in the U.S., compared with 22 percent that are caused by cancer. There were 479,305 deaths from coronary attacks in 2003, making it the number one killer in the nation, with stroke being number three.

Marilyn Randall of Thomson was walking in memory of her father, Newton Cranford, who died from heart disease last year. Ms. Randall said her brother also suffered a heart attack and survived, and her boyfriend died from congestive heart failure.


Thomson Head Football Coach Luther Welsh and other walkers file out of the Thomson Middle School parking lot.

"I think it's honorable for all these people to walk even though it's raining. I'm doing it for my father, to remember him," Ms. Randall said as tears welled in her eyes.

Dena Williams was walking simply to save her pride.

"I'm only here because all these kids gave me a guilt trip," said Mrs. Williams about half-way through the walk. "I will have heart trouble myself in a few minutes. I'm not used to all this walking."

The "kids" Mrs. Williams referred to were her daughters and their friends who were among the ten students walking as a team from the Wellness Councils of Dearing and Norris Elementary and Thomson Middle and High Schools.

After their walk, participants were treated to sausage rolls from Krystal, fresh fruit and drinks.

Web posted on Thursday, March 2, 2006

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