Michigan Medicine prepares for 2023 AHA Washtenaw County Heart & Stroke Walk

February 28, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

As Heart Month comes to a close, efforts are ramping up to recruit coaches and walkers from Michigan Medicine for the 2023 American Heart Association (AHA) Washtenaw County Heart and Stroke Walk scheduled for Saturday, May 20.

“Our goal for this year is to have 20 teams and a total of 150 walkers,” said Bethany Lee-Lehner, M.S.N., R.N., director of Patient Education and Community Outreach for the Frankel Cardiovascular Center and Michigan Medicine company co-leader for the AHA event.

Since 1949, the American Heart Association has funded more than 770 research grants at Michigan Medicine totaling more than $74 million. Current funding of more than $11 million is supporting 34 active projects.

“For many years, Michigan Medicine has been a top supporter of the Washtenaw County Heart and Stroke Walk,” said Sarah Spitzley, AHA development director for the Midwest Heart Challenge.

“The American Heart Association is so appreciative of Michigan Medicine being a champion for our mission to create longer, healthier lives in Washtenaw County by raising lifesaving funds and by spreading awareness of heart disease and stroke to the Michigan Medicine Community.”

Michigan Medicine’s goal is to raise $40,000 for the AHA through participation and contributions to the 2023 Heart and Stroke Walk. Spitzley said the funds raised through the event are invested back into the community through things like cardiovascular and stroke research at Michigan Medicine.

“The work being done at Michigan Medicine allows us to provide resources to help the people of Washtenaw County reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and embrace healthy behaviors,” she said.

“The education and services provided by AHA in our community are so important to helping people lead healthier lives, and gain lifesaving skills,” said Annemarie Lucas, MHSA, Transplant Center administrator for U-M Health, and the other company co-leader for this year’s AHA event.

“By teaching things like hands-only CPR and the signs of heart attack and stroke, the AHA helps empower all of us to make a difference and be heart heroes,” said Lucas.

Individuals interested in participating in the 2023 AHA Washtenaw County Heart and Stroke Walk can create or join a team, or make a donation, by visiting the Michigan Medicine AHA Heart & Stroke Walk web page.

In addition to the event, a newly designed U-M Heart Heroes t-shirt is available, with proceeds counting toward Michigan Medicine’s fundraising goal.

“February may be National Heart Month,” said Spitzley, “but our partnership with Michigan Medicine and our important work to prevent cardiovascular disease are year-round.”

“Everyone has a reason to fight heart disease and stroke,” said Lee-Lehner. “My ‘why’ is my father Michael who has diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease as a result of his diabetes. 

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide and stroke ranks second globally,” Lee-Lehner said. “I hope you will join one of our teams to help us change this statistic. Be a Heart and Stroke Walk hero with us and, together, we can help save lives.”