HUNDREDS of runners are expected to converge at the Stadium East, Kingston, on Sunday, November 24 for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s (HFJ) annual ‘Run for your Heart’ event.
The 5K run/walk, which is scheduled to get under way at 7:00 am, is aimed at raising funds for the HFJ to continue offering affordable heart testing, care, and rehabilitation, among other services to the public. As part of the event, there will be workouts sponsored by popular gyms, other physical activities and giveaways.
Speaking at the official launch at the Emancipation Park in New Kingston recently, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson urged Jamaicans to support the event and embrace healthier lifestyles in order to significantly reduce cardiac-related illnesses other non-communicable diseases.
“Often times, we deal with the curative aspect of these diseases. But we need clearly to deal with the risk factors, which include physical inactivity, inappropriate diet, excessive use of alcohol, and tobacco use,” he said.
For her part, HFJ Executive Director Deborah Chen said that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Jamaica. She noted that the Jamaica Healthy Lifestyle Survey shows that 7.9 per cent of the population has diabetes; 25.2 per cent hypertension; 35.3 per cent pre-hypertension; 11.7 per cent high cholesterol; while 51.8 per cent are overweight and obese.
Participants in the event are asked to collect funds on behalf of the foundation via sponsorship forms, which they can collect, upon registration, from the HFJ’s offices at 28 Beechwood Avenue in Kingston.
Prizes will be awarded to the winner of the 5K event, teams that collect the most money through sponsorship, and the team that has the most participants. There will also be spot prizes for runners on the track.
Former World Sprint Champion Yohan Blake will also be on hand to sign autographs.
Minister Ferguson endorsed the event by taking the first symbolic walk around the track at Emancipation Park with the main sponsors and students.
‘Run for your Heart’ is a part of a $10-million fund-raising drive to raise money for the foundation’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre and purchase medical supplies and equipment.