College a major contributing partner for Fort Wayne's 2012 Heart Walk

Ivy Tech–Northeast faculty, staff and students raised more than $6,500 in the September 15 Heart Walk.

A walk around the North Campus of Ivy Tech Community College–Northeast is always a pleasant experience, but when it’s a walk to raise money to help save lives, it’s even better.

Close to 1,000 walkers took part in the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk in Fort Wayne on September 15. Ivy Tech–Northeast joined the effort this year as a title partner and had the privilege of hosting part of the three-mile route. The walk began at the Walb Alumni Plaza on Indiana University–Purdue University.

Fort Wayne’s campus and followed a loop that stretched to the Ivy Tech Community Garden on North Campus.

Teams representing area businesses and organizations, including an Ivy Tech–Northeast contingent of more than 70 students, staff, faculty and family members, walked to raise money and awareness.

According to Ivy Tech–Northeast’s Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Aja Michael, the college’s participants raised more than $6,500. “I think it’s impressive we raised that much,” she said, considering the majority of the donations were $10, $20 and $30 checks.

Many of the walkers got involved because of a personal connection to heart disease. John Walter, dean of the School of Technology, jumped at the chance to be a Heart Walk team leader. Triple bypass heart surgery in 2000 following a heart attack makes him a believer in the cause. His team alone raised $2,345.

Ivy Tech–Northeast’s involvement came about as a result of the interest of Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier. The chancellor’s staff did some initial organizing, and Michael then spearheaded Ivy Tech’s efforts through a campus-wide recruitment drive.

According to Vanessa Lauritsen, Northeast Indiana Heart Walk director, the Fort Wayne Heart Walk is the largest in this part of the state. Teams ranged from two to three all the way up to corporate groups of 300.

“It’s a really great way to give back to our community,” she said. “Almost everyone has been touched at some point by something the American Heart Association does.” 

Among the services supported by Heart Walk donations are CPR training, advocating to install automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public places, lobbying for clean indoor air and fighting to eliminate soda and other unhealthy drinks from public schools.

Heart Walk participants were encouraged to visit interactive exhibits and take advantage of screenings at the Health Expo at the Walb Alumni Plaza before and after the walk. Among the free services offered were blood pressure checks performed by members of the Ivy Tech–Northeast Student Nursing Organization.