Local News

Wake County virtual events this weekend highlight health, research, recovery

Posted October 9, 2020 9:45 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2020 11:19 p.m. EDT

— For over seven months now, many of us have been stuck at home or limited to certain activities.

“It’s so great to get out from your laptop or computer,” said Jeff Marquis, a survivor and participant in this Saturday's 2020 Triangle Heart Walk Digital Experience.

Marquis is a stroke survivor and will be joining thousands this Saturday. This year, participants will walk on their own, in their backyard or even at a park, and they’ll be able to log on virtually as others walk, too.

“It’s a wonderful excuse to get out, it’s a great cause and here we are on a zoom call and this is just what our world has become with COVID-19,” Marquis said.

Anne Miller with the Triangle American Heart Association said it was a challenge organizing such a big event virtually. But with it benefiting so many people, they knew it had to be done.

“We want people to protect their hearts and get up and move. It’s great for stress levels and to encourage healthy habits at home,” said Anne Miller, Executive Director of the Triangle Heart Association.

Walk for Hope has also had to pivot and adjust. They’ve been walking every year for over 30 years to raise money for mental illness research. The event this year will be more of a drive-thru with temperature checks at the entrance and a virtual option for those who feel safer at home.

“We feel this is an incredible safe way to do it because we really don’t want people to linger and mingle on the property,” said Shelley Eure Belk, executive director of Foundation of Hope.

Jennifer Gibson, the associate director for Walk for Hope who also works in the department of psychiatry at UNC, says they’ve seen a 65% spike in stress-related psychiatric disorders since the pandemic. Events like this make all the difference.

“It’s really critical to be out and be supportive of everybody. One in five adults experience a mental illness. It may not be you, but it’s someone you know and love,” Gibson, said.

The first Susan G. Komen "Together We Thrive" event for metastatic breast cancer research is also slated for Saturday at 7 p.m. and will be a virtual event.

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