ugg in uk Subway spokesman Jared Fogle among North Country Heart Walk participants
SARATOGA SPRINGS Saturday was the perfect day for a stroll. The American Heart Association certainly thought so, as it prepared to set off on its sixth annual North Country Heart Walk.
Wearing red clothes, and sporting footwear ranging from sneakers to Uggs, 1,000 Heart Walk participants gathered at Saratoga Race Course. Booths and activities kept everyone entertained while they waited for the start of the walk. Heart disease survivors wore red caps; child survivors had red hero capes.
International celebrity Jared Fogle, Subway’s spokesman for 14 years, met people at the restaurant’s booth, shaking hands and posing for photos before joining in the walk. Fogle lost 245 pounds through eating healthy Subway choices and walking, and now gives regular talks about fitness. When Fogle spoke during the opening ceremony, the Heart Walk participants cheered.
“We’re all here about fighting cardiovascular disease and fighting stroke, the number one and number three killers right now in our country,” he said. “You’re here for a very important cause.”
An even bigger celebrity might not be so well known outside of Heart Association circles, but she deserved all the warm applause she received at the walk’s opening. Kora Austin, 11,
the organization’s junior ambassador, came to the microphone to tell her story of living with cardiovascular disease.
Austin underwent open heart surgery at 8 months old. Her most recent operation was on Tuesday, when her doctor performed a cardiac catheterization.
“My family, friends and I have been participating in the Heart Walk for 11 years,” Austin said. “I just had surgery, and I feel great. Let’s walk!”
Austin’s cousin, Kimberly Klotz, works as a consultant for Heart Walk sponsor Jenny Craig. Klotz said her family holds the cause dear.
“If it wasn’t for research and her medical team’s skill, we wouldn’t have the joy of Kora’s brilliant, bright eyed, loving presence today,” she said.
Hundreds of area children have heart disease, said Austin’s cardiologist, Dr. Harmannus Velvis. Advances in surgical techniques and heart medications help patients like her.