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Heart Walk set at Rendezvous Park

The American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to participate in the North Dakota Heart Walk set for August 13, at 5 p.m., at Rendezvous Park in West Fargo. Teams are welcome from across the state.

The planning of the Heart Walk is being lead by Rachel and Chris Lerum, who have lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area for 18 years. Chris is the Senior Director of Technical Support at Microsoft; Rachel is a special education teacher at Moorhead High School and School Counseling graduate student at NDSU. The couple has volunteered for the Heart Walk for five years, and is excited about the chance to lead the effort to raise money for research, education and awareness.

"Because of my involvement in the education field, I find myself passionate about increasing education and awareness about heart disease," said Rachel, who has worked in education for 14 years. "I think knowledge is the best tool to fight heart disease and I'm encouraged by the opportunities to increase that knowledge through the money raised at the Heart Walk."

Lerum said part of his inspiration is American Heart Association-funded research that has developed lifesaving heart surgeries and procedures. "I have witnessed firsthand the challenges that heart disease can cause to a family as well as the joy a family can experience when a heart problem is successfully treated," said Chris, who has several close friends with heart disease. "I am proud that my efforts with the American Heart Association can help someone lead a longer and healthier life."

The North Dakota Heart Walk will feature a 1-mile, 3-mile and 5k Fun Run. The event will educate participants about the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and what can be done for prevention. At the finish line, walkers will be engaged in music, entertainment, and healthy snacks; as well as three villages of different educational activities, including health screenings, a kids' area, nutritional information, and shoe fittings.

The North Dakota Heart Walk is free to everyone, however, participants are encouraged to raise funds by asking their family and friends for donations, or they can log on to  - to sign up and start sending emails to fundraise online.

Last year the heart walk raised $200,000; this year's goal is $225,000. For more information, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit