AHA announces Community Impact Grants, Red Cap survivor ambassadors


To celebrate the 45th annual America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, the American Heart Association named five local organizations receiving Community Impact Grants during the Heart Run & Walk Kickoff.

The Community Impact Grant program allows the American Heart Association to help fund local groups that are working, or would like to work, on projects that can help improve the cardiovascular health of our children, families and the community at large. 

From 2011 through this year’s grants, the local American Heart Association has been able to award $290,000 with 72 grants to 43 organizations working to improve the health of the Mohawk Valley.

This year’s Community Impact Grant recipients are:

Center for Family Life and Recovery, Inc.

The Give It A Whirl program serves women in early recovery from substance abuse who are in need of rebuilding healthy, productive lives.

Parkway Center

The STEPS program pairs senior participants with physical therapy students to help seniors get active with safe and effective cardiac monitoring.

Boy Scouts of America

The Community Impact Grant will allow Boy Scouts of America to replace automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at three camp locations.

The House of the Good Shepherd

The Community Impact Grant will allow The House of the Good Shepherd to replace automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at four locations.

The Root Farm

The Root Farm will install 10 activity stations along The Root Farm Adventures Fitness Trail.

In addition to announcing the grant recipients, last week the American Heart Association also kicked off the fund-raising efforts for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. The fund-raising goal for the upcoming event is $1,100,000. Fund-raising efforts for the 45th anniversary Heart Run & Walk will be led by Chairman Jeremy Robinson, senior vice-president of Customer Relations Management at NYCM Insurance.

“The American Heart Association has achieved incredible things over 45 years, but heart disease and stroke are still our number one and number five killers,” Robinson said. “We still face unhealthy lifestyles and social determinants, like poverty and healthy food access, that make it difficult for some to get and stay healthy. Events like America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk can help make our community healthier. NYCM Insurance is proud to be a part of these transformational efforts.”

Other highlights for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk include the following: 

The Healthy for Good Expo, sponsored by Carbone Athletics at the Fitness Mill, will be held on Friday, March 1 at Utica College. The expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Health & Wellness Assessment Screenings sponsored by Mohawk Valley Health System will take place throughout the expo. Areas covered will include health-related material, free screenings and wellness information.

WIBX Heart Radiothon, sponsored by Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, P.L.L.C., will be broadcast on WIBX of Townsquare Media. The Heart Radiothon will be broadcast on Friday, March 1 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 2 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and streamed online at www.wibx950.com. 

WKTV Heart Telethon will be broadcast live by WKTV NewsChannel 2 and streamed online at www.wktv.com. The telethon will be broadcast live on Friday, March 1 from 7-8 p.m. on CBS Utica. Volunteers will take calls beginning at noon. The telethon will air on Saturday, March 2 from 8 a.m. to 1p.m. on WKTV NewsChannel 2.  

The popular Kids Heart Challenge, sponsored by AmeriCU Credit Union, will be held after Heart Weekend. For its third year, the challenge will be held Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at Valley Gymnastics. The event is an obstacle course for kids ages 5-12. Registration will be available online and starting at 6:30 p.m. at Valley Gymnastics.

The Association also announced this year’s Red Cap survivor ambassadors. Red Cap ambassadors strive to educate and inform people of various cardiovascular diseases through their own personal and inspiring experiences.  

Jaxon Hayes – congenital heart defect and stroke survivor, Rome

Angel Woolheater – stroke survivor also awaiting a heart transplant, Utica

Those interested in forming a fund-raising team or volunteering for the event on Saturday, March 2, should contact the American Heart Association at 315-580-3964. Register for the event at www.uticaheartrunwalk.org.


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