Northwestern College and Orange City Area Health System hold 1st annual Heart Walk

Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST
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ORANGE CITY, IA (KTIV) - February is American Heart Month, and to celebrate, Northwestern College and the Orange City Area Health System joined together to hold their first ever heart walk.

According to workers at the Orange City Hospital, heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the local community. However, there are measures you can take to limit your risk.

Saturday, the hospital joined forces with Northwestern College to give the community a fun event to attend and teach them about how to prevent heart disease.

“Heart disease doesn’t discriminate,” said Lindsey De Jong, Cardiac Rehab Director at Orange City Hospital. “So, it affects all populations. So, we wanted to bring everybody together just to share about that, one collective area to be able to share about the testimonies of our heart survivors that are here in our community.”

The event took place in the student center at Northwestern, and guests who registered to attend could walk laps on the track and visit booths to learn about measures to lower your risk for heart disease. Some included learning hands-only CPR and eating healthy and getting proper exercise to prevent obesity. There were also bounce houses for kids, a raffle, and a fashion show for guests to enjoy.

The event was run by volunteers from the hospital and students in Northwestern’s nursing and exercise science programs, and all the proceeds go back to the American Heart Association. Additionally, locals who dealt with heart disease firsthand were in attendance to share their stories and educate others.

“Everybody’s journey’s different,” said Kay Koole, a heart disease patient at Orange City Hospital. “You can be as young as a little baby and as old as some of our other patients, or you could be middle of the road like me. And I believe that just getting educated and knowing where your journey is and what you need to do for your health is what you need to do.”

Koole found out she had a genetic form of heart disease in early January, and she says she’s grateful to the Orange City Health system for their support.

“They have been amazing to me,” said Koole. “They have been helping me through the diagnosis, what it’s going to be like going forward, what may or may not happen, that kind of thing. It’s a lot of information thrown at you, but they help you through it.”

While this was the first Heart Walk, De Jong says that they hope to make it an annual tradition and continue to raise awareness about heart health in Sioux County.