Thousands take part in Tampa Bay Heart Walk

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Today was the 2016 heart walk sponsored by news channel 8.Thanks to your help, this year we raised more than one $114,000.  Fuccillo Kia once again matched the first $50,000.

More than 30,0000  people came out today to help fight heart disease making it the second largest heart walk in the nation.

“Seeing all the people, all the vendors, it’s really a great time for everyone to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke,” said Kristen Powers, a stroke survivor.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the number one and number five causes of death in U.S. adults.

Some came out today because of loss.

“Heart disease is a major problem. It killed my grandfather when he was 58. I never got to meet him,” said Brian Curtiss.

Others were out today to celebrate their stories of survival.

Heart Walk 2016 – Click Here

“In 2010, I had a heart attack and i was 39 years old,” said Mike Wallingford.

“I first started getting involved after I had open heart surgery at the age of 38,” said Kathleen Bell.

One common theme among survivors: heart disease and strokes do not discriminate.

“It’s a big misconception. I was 33 when I had my stroke,” said Powers.

Because this can happen to anyone at anytime, many said getting a simple check-up saved their lives.

“It is so important to know your numbers, know your cholesterol,” said Powers.

“You know your body. If there is something that doesn’t feel right to you, follow your gut and get to your doctor,” said Joanne Gajentan.

The heart walk not only raises money for research and education but ultimately organizers advocate that everyone be heart healthy.

“Taking care of ourselves first, we can solve a lot of problems,” said Curtiss.

Check out how the day went for WFLA News Channel 8’s Stacie Schaible and WFLA News Channel 8’s Lila Gross.

And congratulate all of these awesome walkers.

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