Liberty’s Health And Wellness Center Raises Support For The American Heart Walk In Lynchburg

Through the month of February, Liberty University’s Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives Department is encouraging heart health awareness and raising support for the annual American Heart Walk, which will take place April 17.

The annual American Heart Walk Lynchburg will be held in-person at Riverside Park, and will also offer a virtual experience for those who are unable to participate at the site.

“Part of the reason we’re offering it virtually is because of COVID,” Assistant Director of the Student Health Center and Wellness Initiatives Abi Stafford said. “If someone doesn’t want to be present on April 17th, you can start counting your steps now through that date and it counts as walking for the heart walk.”

According to Executive Director of Student Health Center & Wellness Initiatives Dr. Keith Anderson, all funds raised by the event will go directly to the American Heart Association.

“My motivation goes beyond just making our campus aware of what it means to be heart healthy,” Anderson said. “My father was a stroke victim and ultimately died of heart failure and other medical complications. Because the funds we raise go into research for heart-related disease, anything I can do to reduce the pain of death or sickness due to heart failure or heart disease, I want to be a part of those things.”

Several local organizations have pledged their participation, including Centra Lynchburg General Hospital, Pacific Life Insurance Company, Campbell Insurance, Liberty University, Johnson Health Center, WXFR-TV, Innovative Wireless Technologies, Inc. and more.

Liberty University is split into 3 teams that are responsible for raising their pledged amount. The Liberty University teams include SHCWI, Public and Community Health and Team LUSON, and are made up of 15 walkers. The university has raised $447 and is hoping to reach a goal of $2500 by April 17.  

Anderson emphasized the importance of thinking about heart health and personal fitness even as a college student.

“I want our campus to be the best version of ourselves when we show up in life,” Anderson said. “Especially with our young champions that are addressing the stressors of academia. Whatever we can do to promote health and encourage students to adopt that as a lifestyle will create in us a better Liberty University campus and better students.”

The annual American Heart Walk Lynchburg offers alternatives to walking including a virtual steps challenge and biking. According to Anderson the Lynchburg Humane Society has brought along dogs as walking companions in previous years.

“It’s a wonderful experience and a growing activity in the Lynchburg community,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched, like I said, it go from a couple hundred to a couple thousand walkers, to now where there’s even a survivors ceremony. It’s really a party atmosphere to just encourage people’s awareness and promote physical activity.”

More information about registration and ways to be involved can be found on the American Heart Association Heart Walk website.

Addi Tarr is a News Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @addi_tarr.

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