UTICA — Morgan Mielnicki, community investment coordinator at The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, will lead this year’s Heart Radiothon, on Friday, March 5, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Radiothon raises money for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk and has taken place on the same day in past years; however, because of the pandemic America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk in 2021 will take place on May 15.
“Keeping the Radiothon on the weekend that’s become known as ‘Heart Weekend’ honors a long-standing tradition, especially given that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Radiothon,” Mielnicki said. “We won’t be in person, but we will still put together a compelling schedule of interviews with doctors, Treadmill Challenge participants, and members of our community to air on WIBX on March 5.”
Mielnicki has participated in past Heart Walks, but this is her first leadership position with the event. “I want to empower others to stay active and prioritize their health,” Mielnicki said. “I also wanted to give back to the community.”
“Heart disease remains a prevalent issue within our community and across our nation,” she said. “This year has been filled with many challenges. However, being able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Heart Radiothon has been inspiring. I hope people will donate to this great cause and continue habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Mielnicki is leading a committee of seven others: Dan Amado, of Northland Communications; Karen Carey, of WIBX; Andrew Derminio, of WIBX; Lauren Ludlow, of Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy; Jeff Monaski, of WIBX; Sara Park, of the Slocum Dickson Medical Group; and Marolyn Wilson, of Holland Farms Bakery & Deli.
The committee is also recruiting people to participate in the popular Treadmill Challenge, which puts people head-to-head to go the distance and fund-raise. Like the Radiothon, that will look a little different this year.
The Treadmill Challenge will last from March 5 through May 15. Participants can use a treadmill, walk, bike, run or do whatever kind of exercise they want. They will log their own miles.
Participants will also vie to see who can raise the most donations for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.
The committee is looking to have 50 Treadmill Challenge participants for the 50thanniversary, according to the challenge event organizers.
“The committee is great,” Mielnicki said. “Everyone on our committee has been extremely dedicated, taking on additional responsibilities and helping to delegate tasks evenly. The positivity and enthusiasm toward this event have made our efforts feel worthwhile.”
Mielnicki said embraces the American Heart Association’s message of exercising regularly.
“My favorite activities are running, biking, walking, Pilates, and lifting at the gym,” the 27-year-old said. “I enjoy participating in local events including The Ride for Missing Children and The Boilermaker.”
Mielnicki is from Sauquoit, and went to Herkimer County Community College and Siena College. She has worked at the Community Foundation since 2015, where she works with non-profit partners in Herkimer and Oneida counties to find financial solutions and work on area projects. She lives in South Utica.
“We have a history of high blood pressure in our family, and if it weren’t monitored, it would create issues,” Mielnicki said. “I hope the Radiothon reminds people to prioritize their own health, especially in the time of COVID-19, when people with heart issues may be more drastically impacted. Anyone can support the Radiothon – if you’re unable to physically participate, you can still make an impact by donating or sponsoring.”
“It’s incredible that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Heart Radiothon,” said Jeff Monaski, brand manager at WIBX. “Morgan’s been a great leader in this special year, and we can’t wait for March 5. The Utica community supports the American Heart Association, and I think it’s going to be a very special year.”
In addition to WIBX, the Heart Radiothon is also sponsored by the Slocum-Dickson Medical Group.