Temecula Heart and Stroke Walk raises more than $100,000

TEMECULA – More than 2,000 people turned out for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Temecula Valley Heart and Stroke Walk aimed at raising awareness and funds to fight the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers – heart disease and stroke. The event held at Lake Skinner in Winchester on May 3 raised more than $100,000.

“The success of this event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our Executive Leadership Team and AHA staff,” said Rick Hartsock, chairman of the 2014 Temecula Heart & Stroke Walk and chief operating officer of Mission Ambulance. “On top of raising more than $100,000, we were able to get the American Heart Association’s message of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke to over 2,000 people in the Temecula Valley. I am proud to have worked with such a dynamic team, and I look forward to next year.”

Many of the walkers represented families, individuals and teams formed by local companies who have spent the last few months raising money to support the AHA’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Abbott Vascular was the top fundraising team with more than $32,000. 

The Temecula Heart and Stroke Walk is an annual event that brings the community together to help achieve the AHA’s 2020 impact goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

Participants included many heart disease and stroke survivors as well as families who lost loved ones to the nation’s leading causes of death.

Among the participants were 3-year-old Dalton Rode of Hemet and his family who have been joining the walk since it started in Temecula four years ago. Dalton was in his mother’s womb when he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect where the two main arteries going out of his heart were switched in position. He had open-heart surgery only seven days after he was born.

Two years later, a new diagnosis led to a second open-heart surgery for Dalton, and while in recovery he suffered a stroke. Today, Dalton is an energetic 3-year-old who loves trains and enjoys spending time with his two siblings.

“We are extremely blessed by the medical advances made so that we may today celebrate the life of our Dalton,” said his mother Melissa Rode. 

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 4 killers in America. The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives, free of these and other cardiovascular diseases. The AHA’s lifesaving activities include improving patient care, advocating for better health and educating the public, including populations at risk, through community education programs.

The AHA also funds groundbreaking medical research to help better understand, treat and prevent heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Despite the AHA’s track record in funding research, each year hundreds of deserving projects go unfunded because there was not enough money to support them.

The Heart & Stroke Walk provides an opportunity for the community to help build awareness of heart disease and stroke and raise funds to support cardiovascular research. Every dollar raised at the Heart & Stroke Walk means another dollar toward research, another discovery down the line, another life saved. AHA-funded research has contributed to many important discoveries, including CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart


The Temecula Valley Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway and locally by Abbott Vascular. Additional sponsors include Walgreens, TE Connectivity, Mission Ambulance, Temecula Valley Hospital and Fitness 19.

For information about next year’s Heart & Stroke Walk, visit 

www.TemeculaHeartWalk.org or call (310) 424-4174.

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