JACKSON TWP.  The annual Stark Healthy For Good Heart Walk on Sept. 30 at Kent State at Stark drew more than 1,100 people and raised more than $237,000, topping last year’s attendance by 450 walkers and fundraising efforts by $70,000. That total is expected to grow, as contributions will be accepted through Dec. 31 to the American Heart Association.

The event, chaired by Jack Ford, senior vice president at Beaver Excavating, is part of the association’s Healthy For Good movement, encouraging people to move more and make small changes in their everyday lifestyles to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

"Heart disease and stroke are our nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers," said Ford in a news release. "In fact, in 2016, cardiovascular disease accounted for 37 percent of all deaths in Ohio, while stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults – right here where we live, work and play."

John M. Tucker, of Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A. was the largest individual contributor this year, bringing in more than $5,000. Beaver Excavating came in as the top company fundraiser with more than $45,000, and the John Gaetano Team, also from Beaver Excavating, was the top team fundraiser with more than $7,200.

"Healthy choices are something we can all control," said Ford in a news release. "But we often need the help of great organizations like the American Heart Association to educate us about options and to help fund research that explores how we may prevent our friends and loved ones from being impacted by heart disease and stroke."

The Stark Healthy For Good Heart Walk included a two-mile loop, offered entertainment, exercise demonstrations and free health screenings, and was supported by local sponsors Beaver Excavating and Aultman Health Foundation. Media sponsors included WHBC, The Canton Repository and The Independent.

Donations will be accepted through Dec. 31 at www.heart.org/starkwaynewalk. The American Heart Association has a national goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020.