16th annual Heart walk raises over half a million for cause

By Ava

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Low Country Heart walk is the largest fundraiser for the American Heart Association in the area.

"This is all about educating people so that they can make changes in their lives that will allow them to survive and to not have to deal with cardiovascular disease or stroke," said Anita Zucker chair person of the Low Country Heart Walk for 2012.

Zucker says they set goal to educate at least 5,000 walkers and raise more than $700,000 for the American Heart Association.

"With the heart association were here to walk for people with cardiovascular disease or stroke because they are the number 1 and the number 4 killers in the nation," said Zucker.

The 16th annual Heart walk is also a time for survivors of a heart related illness like Dorothy Connor to share their stories.{}

"Being a stroke survivor, I am so thankful that the American Heart Association does their research and gives money back so they can help us in our health," said Connor.

Connor suffered a stroke in 2010, afterwards she drastically changed her eating and lifestyle habits.

"After you change it slowly then you maintain it you stay on the routine and exercising, I tell people I started walking 6 houses away from home then six more," said Connor.

Even the smallest of supporters took their turn and walked for the American heart association. Groups like Chester's Chasers participate in the event every year. Tammy Willis says they walk for her five-year-old son Chester.{}

"He has HLHS which is a congenital heart defect that he was born with, he was at MUSC three times to have three open heart surgeries but other that he's doing good," said Willis.

Willis adds the American heart association really does save lives.

"If the American heart association wasn't around there wouldn't be funds for research and there wouldn't be there surgeries around to help him because without these surgeries he wouldn't be alive today," said Willis. {}

The money raised from the walk will stay in the community.