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Yard sale in Athens, Festival in Oconee will raise awareness & funds for 2018 American Heart Association Heart Walk

St. Mary's 2017 Heart Walk Team
St. Mary’s 2017 Heart Walk Team

St. Mary’s is hosting a yard sale and fall festival on Saturday, Sept. 8, to raise funds and awareness for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s mission to fight heart disease and stroke. Everyone is welcome at both events.

St. Mary's Outpatient, Rehab & Wellness Center off Ga. 316 near Loop 10
St. Mary’s Outpatient, Rehab & Wellness Center off Ga. 316 near Loop 10

From 8 a.m. to noon, the community is invited to support the AHA/ASA by shopping at St. Mary’s Engineering Department’s Annual Heart Walk Yard Sale, 2175 W. Broad Street, Athens, just east of Alps Road. Limited parking is available in front of the building; additional parking is located in back off the St. Mary’s Broad Street entrance.

Then, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., bring the family to have fun at St. Mary’s Heart Walk Festival at St. Mary’s Outpatient, Rehab and Wellness Center, 2470 Daniells Bridge Road, Athens, located just off the Oconee Connector near the intersection of Loop 10 and Ga. 316.

“The American Heart Association does tremendous work to raise awareness of heart attack and stroke and to fund research into new and better ways to combat them,” said Courtney Vickery, a registered and licensed dietitian, director of St. Mary’s Corporate Health Services, and captain of St. Mary’s 2018 Heart Walk team. “Together, we are working hard to prevent illness and save lives.”

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America, responsible for some 610,000 deaths each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And stroke – sometimes known as brain attack – is the leading cause of disability among American adults.

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Vickery said. “Through exercise, better nutritional choices and heightened awareness of symptoms, we can fight back. For example, research shows about 80 percent of strokes are preventable. By improving our lifestyle choices, we could save thousands of lives and prevent untold amounts of disability.”

People can learn about those lifestyle changes while having fun at the Heart Walk Festival. Festival fun will include:

  • Touch a truck with a National EMS ambulance
  • A visit from the Chick-fil-A baby cow
  • Crazy Hair provided by Salon H
  • Origami Owl Jewelry
  • Kona Ice
  • Gymnastics and cheerleading performances by Oconee Gymnastics and Cheer
  • Heart healthy – and tasty – chicken stir fry prepared onsite by Highland Hills Executive Chef Charles Beasley – only $5 per plate
  • Family fun, including face-painting, sidewalk chalk, Hoola Hoop contest and more

Festival educational highlights – all at no charge – will include hands-only CPR, blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, stroke awareness, early heart attack care, Rethink Your Drink sugar awareness, breast cancer awareness and more.

Everyone is invited to the festival, which will be held in the parking lot if the weather is nice, indoors if rain threatens. Tickets for activities will be $1 each and all proceeds will go to the AHA. All sales will be cash or check only; we won’t be able to process credit or debit cards.

All proceeds from St. Mary’s Sept. 8 events will become part of the system’s donation to this year’s Clarke/Oconee Heart Walk, slated for Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Oconee Veterans Park, 3500A Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville. Team enrollment and donations are now underway at

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