RANTOUL – Organizers anticipate as many as 700 participants for Rantoul's first American Heart Walk.
The event is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 1 at the Rantoul Township High School track, 200 S. Sheldon St.
"We started this event to increase awareness of heart disease and hopefully to make some money to help further study the cures and causes of heart-related problems," said Joe Bolser, the event's co-chairman.
"This will also be a day for people to do something positive for our town. All it takes is about two hours of time, some donations to help the Heart Association and a willingness to be a part of something good."
Organizers will hold a health fair in the high school gymnasium beginning at 9 a.m.
Approximately 20 vendors will have booths set up around the gym.
A message therapist will provide chair massages.
Children will be able to learn about health and nutrition with the help of a larger-than-life doll named Stuffy, which is equipped with removable organs.
Chittick Eye Care will provide simple eyeglass repairs and cleaning.
Equipment will be available for people to see their own eardrum on a video screen, and nursing assistant students from Parkland College will present demonstrations on the importance of hand washing and will test participants' blood pressure.
Julie and Doug Higgins from Doug's Pharmacy in Paxton will present programs on compound drugs, and dentist Roger Wetzel will speak on healthy dental care.
The Lincoln's Challenge Academy color guard will present the U.S. flag and lead participants to the track to start the program.
Bolser said he also plans to introduce this year's honorary chairmen, Pat and Neil Walters, both survivors of heart disease.
Once the event begins, participants will walk laps around the track.
"We suggest eight times around the track, which is 2 miles, but it is really up to you and how much you can walk," Bolser said.
Bolser said Friday that 51 people had already signed up to be team captains asking for donations to support the Heart Association.
"In addition, each of the class officers at Rantoul Township High School have started a challenge to see which class can raise the most money," Bolser said.
For more information on the heart walk, contact Bolser at 893-3323 or the other co-chairman, Gary Adams, at 893-8078.
You can reach Tim Mitchell at (217) 351-5366 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.