Employees from many departments of Porter Regional Hospital came together to rally with the American Heart Association against heart disease and strokes at the Heart Walk on Saturday. Hundreds of participants gathered at Coffee Creek Watershed to celebrate survivors and raise funds for current heart disease and stroke patients.
Porter Regional Hospital employees broke into fundraising teams based on their department. From there, the departments organized bake sales, rummage sales, cookie grams, raffles, book sales, and hosted a Chocolate & Canvas event.
Lindsey Tarkane Mullet and Niki Downs, team captains of the Cardiology department, were able to raise over $5,000 along with their team.
“Our group came together in April and it just took off,” said Tarkane Mullet. “Heart disease and strokes is something very dear to our hearts. All of our teammates have family members that are affected by heart disease or stroke, so it has really hit home to them. That was the core of why we felt so strong about this.”
Their most successful fundraiser was the cookie gram. The pair baked cookies that Porter employees could then send to co-workers for $2. Their hard work certainly paid off.
Downs said, “Being that we both work in the cadiology field, it’s nice that we get to see the ever-changing developments that the American Heart Association makes.”
As a whole, the event exceeded fundraising expectations.
“This year, we are on track to raise over half a million dollars for the American Heart Association, which has so many impacts in the community,” said Heart Walk Director Erin Crawford.
“There are lots of survivors here today: kids, adults, everything in between. No words can describe this feeling. Everyone knows someone that has been touched by the mission.”
Clad in bright green shirts, Porter Regional representatives made up about 200 of the participants.
“It’s really exciting,” said Porter Health Care System CEO Stephen Lunn. This is all our associates coming together for a great cause. It impacts every person in the world in some shape or form. Our folks rally behind things really well. It’s great to see a lot of Porter pride. Heart disease isn’t something any one person can tackle. Everyone together can fight for one cause.”
Before the start of the walk, all the survivors present were recognized for their strength, and seven-year-old Olivia Stonehill was named the 2016 Heart Victor. Olivia was led on stage by her family, and her mother Courtney was able to share Olivia’s story with all the walkers.
The day after her birth, Olivia was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. With a 30% chance of survival, Olivia underwent her first surgery at 7 days old. She had another surgery at 6 months old, as well as 2 and ½ years old. Courtney explained that Olivia has at least two more open heart surgeries ahead of her.
“It’s been a long road and it will continue to be a constant journey, but we are confident that with what the American Heart Association is doing, with funds raised by walkers, Olivia will have a very bright journey,” said Courtney. “We are so incredibly grateful for volunteers.”