WESTERLY — It's may be a lofty goal at $50,000, but members of the 2019 Greater Westerly Heart Walk Committee have almost reached the halfway point and are confident they'll meet with success come Saturday when the walk, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, takes place in Watch Hill.
Committee member Mary Ellen Buckley, vice president of financial services at the Westerly Community Credit Union, who has been volunteering for the walk for nearly a quarter of a century, said the walk has more than $24,000 in its coffers, and given Saturday's weather report, the fundraiser should attract plenty of walkers and donations.
"It's never too late to register and it's never too late to make a donation," said Buckley, who serves on the committee along with local residents Frank Cofone, Nicholas Stahl, Christine Cooke, Jo-Ann Bates, and Skip Hoffman. "I always say donations in any amount are welcome."
Westerly's version of the national heart walk will start at 9 a.m. from the Watch Hill Gazebo on Bay Street with pre-walk registration and activities — games, demonstrations and healthy snacks — beginning at 8 a.m. Debra Honor, development director for the local heart walk, said hundreds of walkers on expected for the 2- and 5-mile walks.
"We like to say we are more than a walk, we're a movement," Honor said. "It's going to be great," she added. "It's dog friendly, child friendly and family friendly."
Buckley will make some introductory remarks, and Mary Gintich, a survivor, will speak about her experience surviving a heart attack. After the walk, Honor said, everyone will receive a coupon for a free ice cream cone from St. Clair Annex.
The fundraiser supports research and advocacy campaigns locally and around the world. Dollars raised by the American Heart Association have led to breakthroughs such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, microsurgery, heart valve replacement, coronary bypass surgery, the pacemaker and drug treatments for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Honor said it will be the perfect time to let people know about "Healthy For Good," a new movement intended to rally Americans to live healthier lives, inspire a lasting change and unify people around the idea that making a small change today can create a difference for a generation to come.
Interested walkers can visit www2.heart.org for registration and more information.