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A heart to educate

The American Heart Association’s annual Denton Heart Walk will highlight someone who knows first-hand the impact of stroke or heart disease – UNT head football coach Dan McCarney.

The event, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 13 at Apogee Stadium, serves two purposes: to make people aware of the risks of heart disease and to raise money to support research projects related to finding better treatments.

McCarney heads onto the fieldMcCarney, right, this year’s honorary chairman, suffered a stroke in 2012, and underwent bypass surgery in 2013.

“As you can imagine, this cause is quite literally near and dear to my heart,” McCarney said in his fundraising page. “I’ve made a personal commitment to help educate Denton and surrounding communities on the importance of taking care of your heart.”

As part of that commitment, McCarney pledged to raise $50,000 toward the total $130,000 goal for the event.

Marchelle Michel, communications director for the event, said McCarney has been quite open about his own story, and his presence has helped draw attention to the campaign.

“He has been able to give the heart walk more visibility in the Denton community than in the past,” she said. “He’s been open and people want to hear what he has to say. That’s been helpful for us to bring awareness to the fact that heart disease is our No. 1 killer.”

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., and after a ceremonial start at 9 a.m., walkers will follow a three-mile course around campus, beginning and ending at Apogee Stadium.

Three local bands will be playing at stops along the route, and the association will provide watering stops for pets as well.

Michel stressed the event is free, but requested people register online before the event.

Faculty and staff can register by:

  • Visiting the Denton Heart Walk website
  • Reading the Registration information
  • Click – Join a Team
  • On the section that says “Find a Company,” click UNT. A list of UNT teams will appear.Click on the appropriate team to join
  • Once on the team’s page, click – Join Team
  • You may then customize your page with a photo and personal welcome or tell why you are walking in the Denton Heart Walk.

Stroke and heart disease kill 813,000 people in the United States each year. In the Denton area, 541 people died from cardiovascular disease in 2012, and 130 died from stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

The association also reported that 27 percent of Denton-area adults reported no physical activity month, and the organization continues to urge people to participate in 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

In March, the association named UNT a “fit-friendly workplace” for the university’s support of physical activity and healthy eating options for its employees.

Among its wellness programs, UNT offers an Administrative Leave for Fitness Program, walking routes, massage therapists, provision of healthy meal options including an entirely vegan cafeteria, BMI testing and support services like the Meadows Center for Health Resources, the Student Health and Wellness Center, Counseling and Testing Services and Pohl Recreation Center.

—Matthew Zabel, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Posted on: Tue 09 September 2014

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