600 ‘Walk This Way’ for Health

WHEELING — The music — courtesy of Aerosmith — told nearly 600 people in athletic shoes to “walk this way” and start the 2007 Heart to Heart Walk at Wheeling’s Heritage Port Saturday.

The American Heart Association sponsors the annual walk for heart health, which proceeded from Heritage Port to Main Street, on to 21st Street, then to the walking trail along the Ohio River and back to Heritage Port.

All along the way, the walk was led by Dr. Edward Chiu, 2007 Heart to Heart Walk chairman.

“Physical activity is important for heart health,” he explained. “You feel better if you walk than if you don’t.

“There are all kinds of heart benefits from walking.

A cardiologist, Chiu said he sees many patients with heart disease and has observed how it affects their bodies.

“Heart disease is very prevalent in society,” he added. “It is still the number one killer of Americans.

Bobbi Taylor, division director for the American Heart Association, estimated that 600 signed up to participate in Saturday’s walk. This was up from past years, and she attributed the ideal weather to be the reason.

“The walk is health oriented,” she said. “Our goal is to increase awareness of the warning signs of heart disease.

“It is import to go in to be checked when you first experience any of these symptoms. If you wait too long, the trouble could be harder to repair.”

Warning signs of heart disease include numbness of the extremities, nausea, heavy pain and flu-like symptoms, according to Taylor.

Many of those walking Saturday had personal knowledge of heart disease. Some were survivors themselves, while others walked in support of stricken family members or loved ones who had passed on because of heart disease.

Beverly Morgan of St. Clairsville wore a sign stating she walking in honor of “my dad Dale.” Her young grandsons nearby wore similar signs that said they were walking for “my pappy.”

“My dad and mother both had heart disease,” Morgan explained. “I’m walking to support the cause.”

Jenny Riggs of Flushing said she just recently was diagnosed with a heart defect she likely had had since birth.

“I’m here for the Heart Walk,” she said. “There’s a lot of heart disease around.”

Jan Marshall of St. Clairsville, an employee of East Ohio Regional Hospital, said she had a number of family members who had experienced heart disease.

“I know how important it is to exercise your heart,” she said.

Kim Bonar of Wheeling brought along her dog Abby for the walk. She explained heart disease ran in her family.

“I recently lost my grandfather to heart disease,” said Valerie Crawford of Rayland. “Unfortunately, it runs in both sides of my family.”