Big Bend Heart Walk

Thousands of Tallahassee residents met at Tom Brown Park in an effort to make strides towards healthier hearts.

The Big Bend Heart Walk is an annual event that raises money for America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers – heart disease and stroke. The goal this year was to raise $300,000.  It raised $179,000.

Terry Collins, who suffers from heart disease and cardiomyopathy since 2004, sat as her daughter and other family members completed the 5K, non-competitive walk.

Jhaismen Collins, Terry Collins daughter, walked today to raise awareness and educate others on heart health.

“If it wasn’t for my mother a lot of us wouldn’t know anything about heart disease. We wouldn’t understand the importance of heart disease,” Jhaismen Collins said.

Terry has an implanted cardioverter defibrillator and a 26 percent infraction rate, which means her heart beats at 26 percent.  This year alone she has had two heart attacks.  

“I could not walk, but I’m feeling great today,” Terry Collins said .

As participants made their way through the three mile walk, they experienced three villages – Create Hope Village, Inspire Change Village and Celebrate Success Village. Each village is designed create changes in participants’ lives.

“I try to eat right, cut down on sodium and walk at least 30 minutes a day,” Cecilia Curry-Ford, a volunteer with the American Heart Association, said .

The walk was filled with teams and individuals of all ages. Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare had a special place were children could play and get their face painted.

“We brought the kids out to walk as well. We want them to understand and tell their friends the importance of keeping active, exercising and eating right,” Jhaismen Collins said.

“I’ve volunteered with the National Heart Association since June 2012,” Curry-Ford said. “I volunteer because some of my immediate family members were diagnosed with congested heart failure and a few has passed away. So, I do it in remembrance of them.”