Heart walks: Supporting communities in a new, virtual way

Amid pandemic, walkers will log miles on their own or in teams

People dressed in red walk down the sidewalk in the 2017 Fargo Heart Walk

For years, Sanford Health has helped to organize and sponsor the American Heart Association’s heart walks.

These walks aim to raise awareness and promote heart health. It’s all a part of Sanford’s ongoing commitment to fight against heart disease.

And no one knows that commitment better than Mike Seminary.

A discovery before surgery

Seminary is a former mayor of Bismarck, North Dakota, and an avid runner.

“I’ve probably ran five miles a day since the ’70s. I don’t think I’ve missed a day,” said the 66-year-old.

Along with “logging a lot of miles,” Seminary says he’s taken pretty good care of himself through his diet. Even though he has family history of it, Seminary was still surprised when, five years ago, his doctor told him he had high cholesterol levels, and should schedule a calcium score.

In 2019, Seminary was scheduled for a surgery on his elbow. At the pre-surgery consult, his cholesterol levels were still high. But, it wasn’t until late January that he finally decided to schedule the calcium score.

“The preferred range is somewhere between 300-500. My score was just south of 1,400,” said Seminary.

More: Heart screening ‘means my life was saved’

Sanford Health scheduled an exercise physical. Not even an hour after the physical, Seminary was called.

“They told me they wanted to schedule an angioplasty as quick as possible. So essentially, I’m back the next day.

“I go in, I’m on the table, wide awake watching this procedure, and the doctors put the stents in. I received such fast, incredible patient care from every single person,” he said.

Seminary says that the fast acting and calming nature of everyone at Sanford Health saved his life.

“Everybody was just amazing. Absolutely everybody.”

Heart walks go virtual

Seminary says when you support these heart walks, you’re supporting quality care, and those dedicated to fighting for anyone in need.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll still happen. They’ll just look a bit different.

Normally, in-person heart walks take place annually in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota; Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Each region will still host their respective heart walks, but virtually.

Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota

The Bismarck-Mandan Virtual Heart Walk is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8. The walk will be held virtually, meaning there will be no in-person gathering, different than previous years. Similar to the previous years, the lengths of the walk will still be 1 mile, or a 5K walk/run.

This year, Sanford Health employees are getting involved in a different way.

From Aug. 3-8, all Sanford Health employees will be encouraged to gather their clinic, or department, and log miles to show support in the fight against heart disease. In order to participate, Sanford employees can visit Inside Sanford and download a heart walk log sheet.

The team with the most miles per capita will receive lunch sponsored by the Sanford Heart team, and all participants who walk will be entered to win prizes.

Fargo, North Dakota

The Fargo Virtual Heart Walk is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 13. You can register to join or start a team, or join as an individual.

Similarly, Sanford Health employees in the Fargo region are challenged to start their own teams, and compete for the most miles walked from Aug. 10-14. Employees are also encouraged to submit a photo, with a story, or a 10-30 second video on why they chose to participate. Prizes will be announced at a later date.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In Sioux Falls, Sanford staff is also encouraged to walk for heart health in the Eastern South Dakota Virtual Heart Walk. Internal prizes, and an internal competition for a free lunch will pit different teams and departments against one another.

The virtual event in Sioux Falls is slated for Aug. 15.

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Posted In Bismarck, Community, Coronavirus, Fargo, Heart, Sioux Falls, Specialty Care, Wellness

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