Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Intern leads charity walk team to combat heart disease, stroke By Katie Land, news editor
Oakland University senior Megan Sullivan walks with a purpose. As an intern with the American Heart Association, she is leading a team in the May 16 Metro Detroit Start! Heart Walk to combat cardiovascular disease and stroke.
With just six members on her team so far, Sullivan hopes to reach out to fellow OU students, staff and alumni to raise both money and awareness. She aims to recruit a total of 15 members and raise $2,000 overall.
“This is very important to the community and to students because heart disease can affect anyone and everyone,” Sullivan said. “It is imperative that the necessary funds are available to further heart-related research and to better inform people of the warning signs and different ways to reduce their risk of heart disease.”
The walk is one of three dates in southeastern Michigan this May. Area teams have raised $79,396 of the $1 million local goal, and $567,963 of the $2.1 million overall event goal.
Sullivan’s team has already raised $475, which is almost half of her individual goal of $1,000. The campaign is run mostly online, using e-mail to direct donors and possible team members to the OU team site. Additionally, a bowling benefit is planned for on April 24 at Fairlanes Bowl in Madison Heights.
Unfortunately, it is a hard time to fundraise, according to Sullivan. “It is hard to ask individuals as well as companies for donations when most are barely keeping their heads above water. For every ‘yes’ I hear, there are about 50 ‘nos.’ It’s just a hard time for everyone, so I’ve tried to not let that discourage me.”
Sullivan’s fight is personal. Heart disease runs in her family, and claimed the life of her grandmother in 1999 after a nearly lifelong battle with the disease. From the time Sullivan’s grandmother was diagnosed at an early age, and was assisted by the AHA with financial aid and the costs of school. She was required to attend a special needs school because of her condition.
By helping raise money for the Heart Walk, Sullivan said she wants to assist other people that suffer from the disease and to help give them the same opportunities and care her grandmother received.
Since its inception in 1924, the AHA has helped protect people from the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. These diseases kill more than 910,000 Americans per year, according to the Heart Walk Web site at www.miheartwalk.org.
To make a donation or to join the OU team, visit Sullivan’s Web site.