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Helping Hands: Victoria chosen for HeartChase

By Sonny Long
July 1, 2011 at 2:01 a.m.


JOIN HEARTCHASEA meeting to begin organizing the initial HeartChase Victoria will be at 6 p.m. July 7 at the Power Avenue Warehouse, 402 E. Power Ave. Anyone interested in taking part in any way in the event is urged to attend. Volunteers, participants and sponsors are all needed. For more information contact Natalie McLarrty at mrstexas2010@gmail.com or Ashley Huckaby at Ashley.Huckaby@heart.org.

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION

Victoria is one of 15 cities in Texas that has been chosen by the American Heart Association to participate in HeartChase, a national pilot program.

"The best way to describe HeartChase is crossing The Amazing Race with Minute To Win It," said Ashley Huckaby, youth market/HeartChase director for the American Heart Association. "Basically, the event is designed to be a fun way to educate the community about heart health."

Huckaby said volunteers have the opportunity to organize the local HeartChase to make it unique to Victoria.

A committee decides the makeup of the event, which could include several checkpoints along a designated course.

Each checkpoint could have a heart healthy quiz or informational component and a physical task to complete.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

One local volunteer has already stepped forward to help lead the HeartChase effort, Natalie McLarty, Mrs. Texas International 2010.

Heart health was her pageant platform.

"I had already been working with the American Heart Association trying to promote healthy lifestyles to families," said McLarty, who will be the local contact for the event.

Victoria was chosen because of its central location, access to a large population base and because the "community has been passionate about heart health," said Huckaby, noting that Victoria hospitals are strong in the area of heart care and the local school district has taken part in Jump Rope For Heart "for many, many years."

"HeartChase is all inclusive," Huckaby emphasized. "This is a participant driven event for all ages. You can form a team with families, schools, companies or other organizations to take part."

Sponsorship opportunities are also available, she said.

The American Heart Association is a national volunteer agency dedicated to creating healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

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