Hundreds of heart disease survivors, patients, community members, and Porter Regional Hospital employees raised $42,943 for the American Heart Association at the annual Northwest Indiana Heart Walk. And this is just the amount raised so far; dollars continue to roll in from hospital team activities.
As the premier sponsor of the Northwest Indiana heart Walk this year, Porter Regional Hospital spreads awareness about heart disease prevention and treatment at the walk. Thirty-one teams took on the trails at Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve in honor of those who battled heart disease. While some teams were dedicated to specific survivors and victims, Porter Regional Hospital’s cardiologists led other teams throughout the walk. This combination of employee engagement and awareness embodied the mission of the event: to educate others and raise money for heart disease.
“Obviously [this event] is for a great cause. Actually, some employees came up to me a couple years ago and asked me to participate and wanted a way to fundraise for the AHA. We signed a partnership to allow them to fundraise for the Heart Association, and the response has been overwhelming,” Porter Regional Hospital CEO Stephen Lunn said. “It’s really exciting to see employees come out and do something for a good cause. It’s all about awareness and bringing the community together for a good cause.”
The event specifically spreads awareness by posing the question of why people should support the AHA; Logan Castleton, a 13-year-old Porter County Native and Survivor of a congenital heart defect, is the answer to that question. Castleton has been attending Heart Walks since before he could walk on his own, and he was happy to fly back from Colorado for this year’s event. To express his appreciation for all of Porter Regional Hospital’s efforts, he played an original song, “Stronger,” on the piano.
“I like being back here. These are some of the guys who helped me out, so I want to help them. People should come here to help kids like me with cardiac and other diseases,” said Castleton before performing.
The sea of orange Porter Regional Hospital t-shirts exemplified the willingness of the community to help kids like Castleton. Some volunteers were brand-new while others have been working with Porter Regional Hospital for decades to help prevent and treat heart disease. Rosemary Ross worked as an RN at Porter Regional Hospital for 45 years, and, after retiring, still volunteers with the hospital.
“When I first walked into the old Porter in 1973, I started in the ICU, and it was a little revamped women’s ward with six little beds in it. It’s grown over the years to be the facility it is today. We’ve grown, we’ve learned, and we’ve taken excellent care of patients throughout the years. [Volunteering] gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning after you’ve retired. I can still use the skills I have,” Ross said.
Porter Regional Hospital’s EMTs donned orange t-shirts as well and were as happy to support the Heart Walk as they are to support the dozens of other community events that they attend throughout the year. With four ambulances and a devoted team, the EMTs readied themselves to make sure attendees enjoyed the Heart Walk safely. In fact, Director of EMS Ann Brandl donated her timeshare as a prize for the walk.
Employee engagement played an important role in making the Heart Walk a successful event, as did community engagement. Porter Regional Hospital Cardiologist Jay Shah, who led a team of walkers at the event, believes getting the community involved is the best way to spread awareness about cardiovascular diseases.
“Events like this are tremendous for the community mainly because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States. This helps build awareness not just for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, but it also helps raise funds to prevent and treat it. There’s great weather outside today, and it’s a great chance to be a part of the community,” Shah said.
After stopping by some booths about heart disease prevention methods, getting pumped-up with the Chesterton High School Cheerleaders, and releasing dozens of balloons into the air, walkers began their journey through the trails of Coffee Creek in the name of those affected by heart disease.
Porter Regional Hospital successfully raised funds and awareness for heart disease treatment and prevention yet again through their annual Northwest Indiana Heart Walk.
To learn more about Porter Regional Hospital, visit: www.porterhealth.com