DES MOINES, Iowa — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, raised more than $310,000 – and counting – to fund lifesaving research and raise awareness for heart disease and stroke at the 2022 Central Iowa Heart Walk held April 30 in downtown Des Moines.
The walk started at the Iowa State Capitol and progressed through downtown. The more than 700 registrants walked their choice of a three-mile or one-mile loop. The event marked the region’s first in-person Heart Walk since 2019.
Individuals unable to attend the Central Iowa Heart Walk can still support the cause. Funds to support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission will be accepted at www.DSMHeartWalk.org until June 30, 2022.
“The Heart Walk is focused on funding groundbreaking research through the passion of walking together to change lives,” said Jonathan Koester, president of Koester Development and chair of the 2022 Central Iowa Heart Walk. “It was an honor to serve as chair of the executive leadership team and to reinvigorate Central Iowans by reuniting our community in better health.”
Heart Walk events in Central Iowa have been instrumental in helping fund innovative breakthroughs, and since its inception, mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke have plummeted by 45 percent. Each walker and each donation help to transform health statistics into lives saved, but there is more work to be done.
Koester and the entire Central Iowa Heart Walk Executive Leadership Team played a vital role in the success of the event. This team includes:
- Jonathan Koester, President, Koester Development
- Sophia S. Ahmad, Senior Director of Development, MercyOne Des Moines Foundation
- Justin Brown, President, Downing Construction
- Kerry Croskey, Director of Business Development, MercyOne Clive Rehabilitation Hospital
- Barry Determan, Operations Leader, Turner Construction Company
- Brent Gantenbein, Senior Creative Manager, Kreg Tool Company
- John Irving, President, Central Iowa Division of Tri-City Electric Co.
- Matthew Karns, Project Manager, Ball Team, LLC
- John Kenworthy, CEO and President, Storey Kenworthy
- Luke Nelson, Managing Director, KPMG, US
- Eric Sanders, Global Capital Execution Leader, Corteva
- Kayla Smith, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Mandi Swanson, Client Account Manager, NCMIC Group, Inc.
The top fundraising teams and individuals were announced during the program prior to the walk. The top fundraisers include:
- The Waldinger Corporation, Top Company
- Team Derek, Top Community Team
- Guy Gast, Top Individual
Leading the walk was 2022 Central Iowa Heart Walk Ambassador and stroke survivor, Brian Clark. Emcees were Big John McCoy and Jacob Beals of 92.5 KJJY-FM and Jason Sydejko, morning meteorologist with KCCI-TV in Des Moines.
Nearly 1 million people walk each year for a singular mission, to cure heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, remains the No. 1 killer of Americans. Currently, 1 in 3 people in the United States suffer from one or more cardiovascular conditions and may be at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications.
The funds raised from the Central Iowa Heart Walk go toward research, advocacy, CPR training and to promote better health in support of the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, reducing barriers to health care access and quality. Visit www2.heart.org to learn more.