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Big Bend Heart Walk Set for September 12

American Heart Association

The Big Bend Heart Walk is just a few weeks away. But there’s still time to organize a team to help fight the nation’s number one cause of death and disability.

Clark Brookstone is one of the local event organizers. He admitted he has a very personal reason for supporting anything connected with the American Heart Association.

“I have 2 artificial heart valves that keep me going,” he acknowledged. “It was a 10 hour operation and I feel very fortunate to be here.”

Brookstone’s continued existence and the ongoing lives of many thousands of other people made possible, he says, by the medical advances funded in large measure by support from the Heart Association.

“Let’s face it: everyone who’s out there and hearing this probably knows somebody or will know somebody who’s going to be affected by some form of heart disease or heart-related ailment.”

But Brookstone was quick to add that healthy lifestyle choices are critical to, not only successful recovery from heart disease, but also helping prevent heart disease in the first place.

A buffet is not your friend,” he chuckled. “And there are a lot of great buffets here in town. But the problem is your heart’s not necessarily loving those. I get a kick out of people who get these huge meals at fast food places and then drinking a diet soda. I don’t think that’s going to help all that much. If you’re trying to lose weight immediately, that will be a byproduct of your doing the right things. Sleep is very important. You have to get into regular sleeping and eating routines.”

As well as a regular exercise routine. And speaking of exercise, Brookstone said a great way to do that is to take part in an upcoming opportunity to get the heart rate up for a good cause.

“Our Big Bend Heart Walk is Thursday, September 12th, 6 p.m. at Cascades Park. There will be a band beforehand, tents set up by some of the corporate sponsors, someone leading us in warmups and the walk itself is a 5K, but there are also shorter versions.”

He pointed out the yearly Big Bend Heart Walk is the primary local fund-raiser for the American Heart Association.

“When you donate a good portion goes to research and development, technology and the new mechanisms that help out,” he said.

To make the effort more communal and fun, Brookstone said many participants form teams made up of coworkers, friends and family. His team is made up of military veterans like himself. But he insisted walk-in participants are just as welcome to take part.

“There will be people taking donations at the Walk itself, or you can go online and make a donation there:”

Last year more than 500 people were stepping out for healthier hearts. Organizers like Clark Brookstone are hoping for at least that many on Thursday, September 12th.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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