American Heart Association’s CycleNation Pumps Hearts & Pedals for Research Funding

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) 2nd annual indoor cycling “CycleNation” event was held at Sportsplex Fitness in New Windsor on Thursday, February 28th. The goal of the event was to encourage Hudson Valley residents to use cycling to improve heart and brain health, while raising funds to continue the AHA/ASA’s vital community programs, research and advocacy efforts to end heart disease and stroke.

More than 100 riders from dozens of teams with names like “Spinderellas” and “Stent Spinners,” pedaled to high-energy music and inspirational instructors in this 2-hour relay-style event. Each bike had up to five riders who ride a “relay” style race against other teams. Several local organizations sponsored the event, including: Holt Construction/After-Party Sponsor; Orange Regional Medical Center/Wipe Out Stroke Sponsor; Popcorners/Refueling Station Sponsor; and Bike Sponsors: Lynn Warren Landscaping, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Mobile Life Support Services, Healey Brothers, Jacobowitz & Gubits, Health and Wellness Partners, Orange Bank & Trust Company, and Medicine Chest Pharmacy.

Holt Construction

Team honors were awarded for fundraising, spirit and total distance. Organizers are optimistic about hitting their goal of $50,000 with online donations still coming in. Funds raised will support the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s research and programs. The AHA/ASA’s heart disease and stroke research funding is second only to the federal government.

Maria Bua, stroke survivor

Several heart disease and stroke survivors attended the event including 2012 quadruple bypass open heart surgery survivor, Ray Sharo, of Cornwall, who now runs half-marathons, and Maria Bua, of Salisbury Mills, a stroke survivor.

Bua had brain surgery to remove a tumor and post-surgical clots led to a stroke. She was paralyzed on her right side, couldn’t speak and had memory loss. After grueling, intensive rehabilitation, including outpatient speech and physical therapy for two years, bouts with depression, and continued short-term memory loss, she finally regained independence step-by-tiny step. She can drive how and enjoys biking, hiking, kayaking and cooking. Best of all, she is teaching people how to read—a skill she had to relearn over the years after the stroke.

Orange Regional Medical Center’s Team “Tour de Orange”

According to the AHA, being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. To improve overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, including cycling.

Online donations are still being accepted at http://www2.heart.org/cntricounty

CycleNation Award winners included: Top Fundraising Team – Health and Wellness Partners; Top Fundraiser – Crystal Johnson, Walden Savings Bank; Best Dressed Team Bike –  Healey Brothers; 1st place Spirit Award – Orange Regional Medical Center; 2nd Place – Health and Wellness Partners; 3rd Place – Orange Bank and Trust; and Team Distance Award Tie – Jacobowitz and Gubits and St Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.

Missed the fun? The AHA’s Tri-County Heart Walk is set for Sunday, May 5th at Harriman State Park. Registration is open online at www.tricountyheartwalk.org.