AUSTIN, Texas – The American Heart Association will dedicate its 2009 Hays County Start! Heart Walk in honor of former Hays County Sheriff Allen Bridges, who died suddenly of a heart attack on December 6th. Special ceremonies prior to the event will honor Bridges’ life and impact on the region. The Hays County Heart Walk will take place Saturday, March 28th at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos. Registration begins at 8:00am, and the Heart Walk at 9:00am.
The annual 5K non-competitive walking event is designed to bring public awareness to physical activity and a heart-healthy lifestyle, while raising the critical dollars needed to fund heart disease and stroke research and educational programs in the Central Texas region. Teams are made up of employees from local companies, along with friends and family members of all ages.
A kickoff event for Heart Walk team captains will take place this Tuesday, February 3rd from 11:30am to 1pm in the Maroon and Gold Room, at Strahan Coliseum on the Texas State University campus. Subway of San Marcos will provide lunch for all prospective Heart Walk team captains.
A law enforcement veteran of 36 years, 11 of which were spent with the Hays County Sheriffs Department, Bridges passed away early on the morning of December 6th, after collapsing the prior evening in his Dripping Springs home. He was 62.
“Allen was a special person. He was my boss, my friend and my mentor,” said David Peterson, Constable for San Marcos Precinct 1. “He had a vision of what Hays County should look like, and that vision made our work much easier. Whether it was involvement in the community, fundraisers and benefits, or attention to his family, he put his heart into everything he did.”
“We in the Hays County law enforcement community are honored to promote the Heart Walk in his honor,” Peterson said.
Heart disease and stroke rank as the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of Americans. These and other cardiovascular diseases kill more than 870,000 Americans each year and cost the nation more than $403 billion in direct and indirect costs. In Texas, cardiovascular disease accounted for more than 51,000 deaths in 2004, the last year for which such statistics are available.
Those numbers are decreasing, in part due to American Heart Association-funded research, which has contributed to important discoveries such as CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects.
SUBWAY® restaurants, Healthy Choice® and AstraZeneca® are the national presenting sponsors of the American Heart Association Start! initiative. For information on participating in the Start! Heart Walk, Hays County area residents can call the American Heart Association Austin office at 512-433-7220 or visit www.heart.org/hayscountywalk.
About the AHA: Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart diseases and stroke. These diseases, America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases, claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives.