Participation, donations grow at third annual Lynchburg HeartChase event

Shelley Andrews :: LUCOM Marketing and PR | Apr 20, 2016

Following months of planning and fundraising, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) helped raise over $20,000 for the American Heart Association (AHA) at HeartChase 2016 on Saturday, April 16.

According to the AHA, about 200 people participated in the event on the campus of Liberty University, nearly tripling the attendance from last year’s event.

LUCOM student-doctor Lawrenshey Charles, class of 2018, was a part of one of the HeartChase teams that competed.

“Our team did well, completing the race with one minute to spare. At the end of it all, it was a good workout,” said Charles.

Kelly Mayhew, program manager of LU’s Information Technology department, has taken part in HeartChase since it came to Lynchburg three years ago.

“It’s so much fun competing with my work friends. We’ve had fun every year and have also placed each year. We especially loved that so many more teams were involved this time,” said Mayhew.

Along the style of The Amazing Race and Minute-To-Win-It, teams competed against each other during HeartChase in a fast-paced scavenger hunt that included multiple interactive checkpoint challenges and opportunities for points to win prizes. Teams were able to track their progress in a HeartChase app on their smartphones.

Each challenge was designed to spotlight heart health, from exercises to trivia questions.

The chase actually began before the event as teams competed against each other financially to raise as much money as they could for HeartChase.

According to Ashley Ege, AHA director of development, all donations go directly to education, advocacy and research about heart disease.

“Heart Disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is 80% preventable. Americans need to be more aware of what they are eating, making sure that they are exercising, and realizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke,” said Ege.

Mayhew knows firsthand how important it is to be knowledgeable about heart disease and how to prevent it, which is why she is so passionate about taking part in the event every year.

“Both my family and my husband’s family have experienced cases of heart disease so it feels great to raise money for the AHA to help teach people the signs and symptoms, as well as, fund research and other tools that help save lives,” said Mayhew.

For participants like Charles, being a part of HeartChase is a simple way to make a difference.

“There are things that we can do at home and in our communities to help lower the statistics, and events like HeartChase are a part of the answer,” said Charles. “With heart disease claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined, according to the AHA, it is extremely important to increase awareness about heart disease in the community.”

Prior to the chase, the AHA hosted an opening ceremony that included a personal story of despair and hope from the Harrison family who lost their daughter, Harper, to heart disease. Scott Bullman, director of Liberty University Worship Collective and worship pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, also spoke about conquering obesity.

HeartChase Lynchburg was additionally sponsored by Centra Health Systems, Central Virginia Family Physicians, the Elms of Lynchburg of Meridian Senior Living, and Gentry Locke Attorneys. In addition to the sponsorships, HeartChase was supported through contributions of time, personnel and resources, as well as, encouraging participation by teams from Live Healthy Liberty, Liberty Athletics and Liberty Club Sports, along with LaHaye Student Union, and Liberty’s School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Psychology, and the Sports Medicine Network. Additional administrative assistance was provided from Liberty’s Events Office and Division of Auxiliary Services.