‘Today, we are celebrating life’

Participants take part in this year’s Heart Walk Saturday in Cullman. (Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The weather was cold and windy but the participants were fired up for this year’s Cullman Heart Walk Saturday at Depot Park. The annual walk is a major fundraiser or the American Heart Association (AHA) and is organized each year by Cullman Regional. It brings awareness to heart disease and stroke.

According to the AHA, “Heart disease is the no. 1 killer worldwide and stroke ranks second globally.” 

The AHA has “invested $4.1 billion in research, more than any U.S. nonprofit organization.”

Each year Heart Walks take place across the country as teams can raise money, honor the memory of those lost to heart disease and stroke while also celebrating the survivors.

AHA Executive Director for the Birmingham market, Lizzie Wilkerson, welcomed everyone to Saturday’s walk in Cullman, saying, “Today, we are celebrating life, and life is why the American Heart Association exists. Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives and you are here doing just that. By being here you are taking a stand against the number one and four killers in our community, heart disease and stroke. While heart disease continues to be the greatest health threat for Alabamians, we know that 80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable through diet and exercise.”

Prior to the start of the walk, heart disease and stroke survivors were recognized by the energized crowd. Heart disease survivors wore red caps while stroke survivors wore white ones.

Teams raised money for Saturday’s event. The top team this year was God’s Miracles, with the Cullman Electric Cooperative coming in second.

This year’s Heart Walk offered much more than just a 5K and 1-mile walk. Cullman Regional was onsite offering free health screenings at the park as well as several inflatables, games and a photo booth.

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Christy Perry