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Heart Walk set for Saturday

ALBANY — Officials coordinating the Albany American Heart Association Heart Walk are putting the final pieces together in preparation for the event they hope will raise awareness of the issue of heart disease.

A walk is being planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at The Veranda on Meredyth Drive for that purpose.

The goal for the walk is to raise $55,000. By late Thursday afternoon, the tally was at $45,557. There are at least 14 companies that have set up teams to raise money for the cause.

“Heart disease and stroke kill 800,000 Americans a year,” said Jenny Savelle, chair of the Albany walk. “(This year), the response has been very successful.

“We’ve exceeded our company sponsor goals this year, and there have been more fundraising teams formed.”

Music and face-painting will take place at the event, and lunch will be provided by Subway.

Ray Knight, an Albanian who once played for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets, will be the master of ceremonies at the walk.

Earlier in the week, coordinators were still working out the paths for the walk — but early indications are that there will be routes available for 1-mile, 2-mile and 3-mile walks.

Health problems cost corporate America nearly $226 billion annually in productivity losses, and officials say the cost of treating heart disease and stroke is expected to triple in the next 20 years.

“This is not just about research but about prevention,” Savelle said. “That’s why we pushed for a walk.

“It’s about awareness. It’s a great cause and for making people aware. We want more participation. We’ve done everything we can to make it more family-oriented.”

There is no registration required for those wishing to participate. People may just show up on Saturday, Savelle said.

Anyone who wants to make a donation or learn more about the walk can visit www.albanyheartwalk.org, call (478) 320-0575 or email kellie.thigpen@heart.org.

Donations can also be made by sending a check to American Heart Association, 5962 Zebulon Road No. 359, Macon, Ga., 31210.