Step it up: American Heart Association holds annual Heart Walk

Ella Ray (2021-2022), Co-Managing Editor

Sweat slides down the American Heart Association’s members’ red faces as they walk through the volcanic heat of the bright sun on the 16th of October. The students manage to march through the pain, determined to raise awareness for several heart diseases around the globe. Senior Rahul Raja Durai Murugan, a student ambassador of the club, helped create a chapter of AHA at Tompkins to contribute to the progress of research and recognition.

“The AHA funds heart disease research and has donated over $4.8 billion dollars in its timespan,” said Murugan. “The organization also promotes a heart healthy lifestyle through the advocacy of healthy eating and regular exercise.”

Murugan believed that a heart healthy organization that allowed several volunteer opportunities would greatly benefit the local community. Looking to establish those benefits, the student ambassadors have made it their mission to constantly educate others about different heart diseases as well as raise funds to support its patients in the community. Their most popular fundraiser, the Heart Walk, has allowed for the community to not only raise an adequate amount for funds but also reconnect annually.

“Our main focus is to have as many Tompkins and Katy ISD students attend the Heart Walk and become involved in our mission of making our community a healthier one,” said Murugan.

Although trying to promote a healthy and connected community, Murugan understood that most students may have a lack of motivation to participate due to their overflowing assignments and packed schedules. However, Murugan also learned that while many students are determined to improve their community, they also desire volunteer hours for preparing their resumes in the future. As a result, Murugan announced that the students who participated would earn a quality amount of service hours.

“Attending the entire event will be rewarded with at least five volunteer hours, depending on participation,” said Murugan. “Also, it’s a social event, and it’ll help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Aside from the immense volunteer opportunities, AHA has provided its members with leadership skills and knowledge about an urgent issue that is prominent in the country. Even though raising awareness is a crucial step for progression, AHA took benefiting the community to the next level by taking action. Murugan explained that the satisfaction from volunteering and participating in events regarding the community is truly rewarding, pushing students to join in order to experience the euphoric feeling of giving back.

“Students should join the AHA Chapter at Tompkins if they want to make a difference in our community in terms of heart healthiness,” said Murugan.