BURLINGTON, Vt. – Hundreds of people gathered at the Burlington waterfront on Thursday to stop the cycle of heart disease and stroke by cycling.
This was the first year the American Heart Association held the event, called CycleNation. Cyclists spent two hours near the waterfront and helped raise $50,000 in the fight against stroke and heart disease.
Among the crowd of participants, survivors could be seen in red hats, a reminder of the importance of bringing awareness to this fight.
“I am a sudden cardiac death survivor, I’m going on my 10 year anniversary this October,” said Michelle Johnston.
Since that day, Michelle has been involved in events like Go Red For Women, and seeing the strong turnout on Thursday gave her strength.
“Honestly, it really warms my heart, I get really emotional about it,” Johnston said. “With my event, the community came together and supported me immensely, so I love to give back.”
One of the voices helping to motivate the cyclists was Sarah Degray, owner of Rev Indoor Cycling, which provided all the bikes for the event.
“I’m exhilarated and exhausted,” Degray said. “It’s been a really long day but I’ve had an awesome team and what keeps me going is seeing everyone out there having an amazing time.”
After presenting awards and celebrating the achievements of all the riders, Nancy Luke, the regional director of the American Heart Association reminded everyone how critical it is to be aware of your own health.
“It is so important that you understand what your risks are, that you get your blood pressure checked and know your numbers, and that you are aware what the signs and symptoms are of stroke and heart attack,” Luke said.
Local 22 & Local 44 was a proud sponsor of CycleNation.