An AHA moment: Austin’s heart health success

We are living in The Future, people. The phenomena that we used to call unexplainable or incomprehensible are now being explained, thanks to Science! One notable example is dementia. 50 years ago, losing one’s mind was considered a normal part of the aging process. We know now that’s not the case, and we’re starting to understand why. According to a recent study conducted at UT, there may be a link between middle-age obesity and memory problems down the road. Researchers hope that this information might help prevent the onset of dementia.

Pretty cool, right? What’s really exciting about this story is that a huge part of the credit for the research goes to Central Texans like you. The study was funded by the American Heart Association.  AHA supports some $23 million in research throughout the UT system, and a significant part of that funding comes from fundraising events here in Austin.

One such fundraising event is AHA’s annual Austin Start! Heart Walk, which took place earlier this month. The walk was a huge success, surpassing its $440,000 goal and beating last year’s total by over 75%. Almost 3,000 people came out to support AHA, and what they were able to accomplish is astonishing. Heart disease is an issue that really hits home in Austin, with more than 1 in 4 deaths in the Austin area caused by cardiovascular disease. That makes for a lot of people for which AHA’s mission is personal.

Austin Start! Heart Walk
Almost 3,000 Austinites came out for the Austin Start! Heart Walk

Take, for example, Paul Lally. Paul’s a survivor of heart disease: he underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008. Two years later, he’s still fighting heart disease – this time by raising money for AHA. Paul was the walk’s top individual fundraiser, gathering over $15,000 in donations. On top of that, he persuaded his employer to give a $10,000 matching donation.

Ed Baca and Paul Lally
Paul Lally, right, raised over $15,000 for the AHA Heart Walk

Inspired yet? You may have missed the Heart Walk, but there are plenty of opportunities to support the Austin chapter of AHA. Check them out here.

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