On Saturday, Oct. 14, hundreds came out to support the American Heart Association at the Racine-Kenosha Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Fun Run at Gateway Technical College. Walkers and runners braved the rain and cold to help raise nearly $100,000 that will be used to fund local educational programs, groundbreaking research, advocacy efforts and so much more. Attendees walked/ran either a three-mile route or a one-mile route, and were able to learn hands-only CPR, take healthy selfies with Miss Wisconsin, grab a few new heart-healthy recipes, and many other fun activities. Abigail Burnett was honored as the Heart Walk Hero, and her parents, Ed and Lisa Burnett, shared her story. When Abigail was just 6 weeks old, she lost the use of her left arm and hand. After a number of tests, it was revealed that Abigail had a tumor inside her spinal cord at the base of her neck, as well as various aneurysms in her circulatory system, including one located near her aortic arch.

Doctors performed open heart surgery “to prevent death” when Abigail was only 14 weeks old. She is now 6 years old, and doctors still have not been able to diagnose her disease. The American Heart Association highlights stories like Abigail’s to emphasize the importance of fundraising and to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, our nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.

There were a number of business leaders in Racine and Kenosha who helped to lead the charge at the Heart Walk this year. This group of business leaders personally raised more than $1,000: Patrick Booth of CCB Technology; Dominic Cariello of Badger Meter; Dave Brown of Carpetland USA; Bryan Albrecht of Gateway Technical College; and Matt Montemurro of RAMAC. There were also a few individuals who personally raised more than $500. This list includes: John Daniels, Jenny Larsen, Chuck Swetland and Sandy Carlson.

The 2017 Racine-Kenosha Heart & Stroke Walk/5K Fun Run was sponsored by Badger Meter, Burlington Graphic Systems Inc., CCB Technology, CNH, David Insurance, Educators Credit Union, Equity Creative, Gateway Technical College, InSinkErator, Kane Communications, Marlo Inc., Meijer, Ocean Spray, Racine Dental Group, SC Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Wisconsin Beef Council. To learn more about the American Heart Association and its local efforts, visit www.heart.org. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @AHAWisconsin.

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