Heart Walk/Fun Run


Katy Swift, Staff Writer

On Sat. Oct. 25, the American Heart Association held its annual Heart Walk/Fun Run in Fairview Park. The event started at 8 am and continued until 10:30 am. Before the actual Heart Walk began, there were many things for participants to do. There was the usual table with registration and donations, but there were many others as well. A lot of new tables this year were focused on children. There was a kid’s zone with a craft to make a butterfly out of hearts, and the Children Museum offered face painting. Kiwanis also had a table for the first time at the Heart Walk was offering books Pre-K through 9th grade. People were allowed to take as many of these new and used books as they wanted. Another table featured our own Chef Brian. He was there demonstrating healthy meals for adults and children.

While most of these tables were set up to support this year’s focus on family, there were other kinds as well. One table provided tribute stickers for participants to wear during the Heart Walk. On a different table, there were red or white ball caps available for survivors of heart attacks and strokes. There was also a memorial display right outside of the Fairview Park pavilion. People could write a name on a sign in celebration or in memorial of that person. These signs were then set up, and stayed out throughout the rest of the event.

After people had plenty of time to go through the different tables, the festivities began. This started out with a story from Prescott Paulin. In August, Prescott participated in the Abe’s Amble 10k Race at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. He was fine for the entire race, until he was about 50 yards from the finish line. At this point he went into cardiac arrest, and was dead for 3 minutes. Two nurses, Holly and Nicole, were at the event and saved his life. While Nicole could not be at the event, Holly was presented with an angel statue, created in the Millikin Art Department, in thanks. He wanted this to show how important it is for everyone to learn CPR, and for everyone to realize that we go to these events to help support each other. Not for ourselves.

Shortly after this speech was completed, warmups for the walk/run began. After a few minutes, everyone walked over to the starting line. Participants had the choice of a 1 or 3 mile route. There were water bottles available partway through the route for everyone to take as well. During the walk, people were seen walking by themselves, in groups, with their families, and some with their dogs. Not only was this a great opportunity for people to get out and exercise, but it was also an opportunity to connect with the community. Everyone was very friendly and willing to talk about their own experiences which helped with this ability to connect.

The Heart Walk is a major event in the Decatur Community. Usually, it is held in April, but the date was switched to October this year in hopes of better weather. This event is becoming more and more important for the community. Heart disease has become the number one killer, and children are beginning to not have the same life expectancy as many adults. This is from lack of going outside to play and get exercise. The goal of this year’s event is to get people to work exercise into their daily habits. The Heart Association is raising this donation money for life saving research and information for the community. We must all remember, looks can be deceiving, and no matter what age we are, we need to become more health conscious.