Orlando’s Loch Haven Park will be the site for Saturdays 2012 Heart Walk. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
ORLANDO – Sometimes one person can make a difference in the lives of others, by setting an example that friends and colleagues find inspiring and motivational.
That’s exactly how Tere Brun felt when she noticed the ongoing efforts by someone she knew in Orlando to lose weight and improve their overall health – something Brun wants to encourage a lot more people to do as well.
That’s why on Monday, when Brun was ready to officially hand out the Honorary Lifestyle Change Hero Award, she knew it deserved to be presented to an Orlando man who has spent the past year working to reduce his weight, trim his waistline, and get healthier.
“We congratulate you on your personal lifestyle health changes,” Brun said, as she stood in the City Commission chambers at Orlando City Hall, and presented the award to Mayor Buddy Dyer.
In accepting the award, Dyer said “I did lose about 35 pounds a year and a half ago,” and since then, a lot of city residents have made note of it.
“The rewarding part is I’ve had so many come and say to me, ‘If you can do it, anybody can do it,’ “ the mayor laughed.
Brun, the senior vice president and general manager at Fidelity National Information Services, was at City Hall to do more than hand out the Lifestyle Change Hero Award. She’s the co-chair of the 2012 Greater Orlando Heart Walk, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 a.m. at Loch Haven Park at 900 E. Princeton St.
This is an event that’s free to participate in, and walkers who join this fund-raiser are eligible for a Heart Walk t-shirt once they’ve raised a minimum of $100. The outdoor festivities begin at 7 a.m., and the actual walk starts at 8 a.m.
A year ago, Brun said, 18,000 Central Floridians participated in this annual event sponsored by the American Heart Association, and which has two goals. The first is to raise funds that will be used to help combat illnesses like heart disease.
The second, Brun added, is to inspire people to take good care of themselves, and to “promote healthy lifestyles while educating the community about the risks of heart disease and stroke.”
On its Web site for the upcoming walks – which are being held in communities across the nation – that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans.
“In fact, someone dies from CVD every 38 seconds,” the Association notes. “Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects.”
Anyone can help fight these illnesses, Brun said, by joining the Heart Walk, which is expected to attract more than a million walkers in more than 300 cities across America, all of them united in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives.
The funds raised in the Heart Walk will support projects like financing the most up-to-date research for doctors into the treatment of heart disease, pediatric heart and stroke research to help save the 36,000 babies born with heart defects each year, and finding ways to get life-saving information to people, including how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack, and how to discuss healthy lifestyle choices with your personal physician.
That’s also why the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk hopes to inspire by example, Brun said, and the reason why they give out an Honorary Lifestyle Change Hero Award.
“The winner has to be someone who has made an effort to change their lifestyle,” she said, as she pointed to the city’s top elected leader as a shining example of that.
To learn more about Saturday’s event, log on to http://greaterorlandoheartwalk.kintera.org/tink.

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