20,000 supporters put heart and soul into First Coast Heart Walk

Annual event raises awareness of heart disease, stroke

Every year, 655,000 people in the United States die of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of people joined in for the First Coast Heart Walk on Saturday to raise awareness of heart disease -- the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.

This is more than a walk -- it’s a movement that is saving lives.

It’s something that Kaci Chesser doesn’t take for granted and the reason why she joined in the walk with her two daughters -- and 20,000 other supporters.

“I’m a survivor. I had open heart surgery and two strokes,” Chesser said.

Every year, 655,000 people in the United States die of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“We’re walking to support everybody that is going through it,” Chesser said.

Amber Wilson, Executive Director of the First Coast Heart Association, joins us to discuss how you can get moving and help defeat heart disease at the First Coast Heart Walk at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.

Thousands who joined in the walk at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds on Saturday are either affected by heart disease, have recovered from it, or are battling it right now.

Bill Donovan almost lost his life after going into cardiac arrest because of heart issues.

“I dropped dead in the driveway,” Donovan said.

Luckily, Donovan’s wife was there when it happened and did CPR until paramedics came.

“I did CPR from watching it on TV. You do it to the song ‘Staying Alive,’ you know, and I hadn’t had any training,” Donovan’s wife said.

“She actively revived me and then rescued me,” Donovan said.

All donations from the First Coast Heart Walk go toward research.

The goal is to raise $1.8 million in hopes to defeat heart disease once and for all.

Saturday’s massive turnout of 20,000 is one step closer to winning the fight against heart disease.

About the Authors:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.

Anchor on The Morning Show team and reporter specializing on health issues.