Walking Heart to Heart

WHEELING — Residents will be walking their way to a healthier lifestyle this weekend, as the 2007 Heart to Heart Walk annual fundraiser for the American Heart Association is on the way.

New activities this year include the Heart Dart for children 10 and younger, and the Start program to propel participants toward a lifetime of healthy habits.

The walk will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, while the Heart Dart will start at 9:40 a.m. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

The route for the Heart to Heart Walk will travel south from Wheeling Heritage Port to WesBanco Arena, turning east to Main Street. Upon reaching Main Street, walkers will turn south and continue across the bridge and on past Cardello Lighting. Walkers then will turn west toward the trail at the Imperial Teachers Store and continue until reaching the trail.

The walk will then turn north and culminate at the finish line at the port.

The entire route is approximately 2.5 miles.

“An alternate route that will go north on the trail from the starting point at the port will be available for those with limited physical abilities,” said Bobbi Taylor, division director for the American Heart Association.

Meanwhile, the Heart Dart is a race designed to start kids off right in terms of healthy lifestyles.

“There are 8.8 million obese children in the United States today, and this could lead some of them to develop heart disease before reaching age 30,” said Taylor.

Taylor said the Heart Dart will begin a 9:40 a.m. in the Kids’ Corner area of the port.

“The participants will race until the end of the course where they will pick up a prize before carrying it back to the finish line to win more prizes,” she said.

“We really want to instill good diet and exercise habits in the kids at a young age so that we can help them live long and healthy lives,” Taylor added.

Taylor said the purpose of the American Heart Association’s new Start program is to encourage and help people experience year-round wellness.

“People who have already started a healthy lifestyle can come to celebrate with us, while others can come to start their new lifestyles,” she said.

Taylor also said a podiatrist, an exercise consultant and a nutritionist will be available to speak with participants.

“These individuals will consult with walkers free of charge,” said Taylor.

The event is a joint effort of Belmont County and Ohio County residents. The fundraising campaign officially kicked off Aug. 6 at a dinner for team leaders sponsored and hosted by Long Horn Steakhouse in St. Clairsville.

Local disc jockey and heart survivor Bob Dorris will provide music for the event, and Dr. Edward Chiu of Wheeling Hospital, 2007 Heart Walk chairman, will oversee the event activities.

Participants will be treated to pizza from Domino’s, provided by owner Morgan Lacefield and burritos from Honest to Goodness Salsa Cafe owner James Tiu. Dr. Mark Wilson also will have hot dogs at the Kids’ Corner.

The Heart to Heart Walk raises awareness and money to fight heart disease and stroke. Last year, the event brought in more than $70,000 to further heart research and education, Taylor said.

Sponsors include Wheeling Hospital, Ohio Valley Medical Center, Belmont Community Hospital, East Ohio Regional Hospital, Sniffles & Smiles Pediatrics, WesBanco Bank, Boston Scientific, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Long Horn Steakhouse, Carelink, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield, Town & Country Animal Hospital, Nickles Bakery, Wheeling Lions Club, Dr. Richard Terry, Valley National Gases, Progressive Bank and Mended Hearts.

To sign up a team or for more information, call the “Heart Line,” (304) 277-2756 or e-mail Taylor at try { _402_Show(); } catch(e) {}