ROSELAND, NJ — For the first time on Oct. 23, the American Heart Association (AHA) combined three former AHA Heart Walks to host one Greater Northern New Jersey Heart Walk at the ADP Corporate Headquarters in Roseland, where nearly 2000 residents from Essex, Morris and Union Counties participated in a one-or three-mile, non-competitive walk as part of the association’s signature fundraiser.

In addition to the Heart Walk, participants enjoyed free health screenings, cardiovascular advice from experts, giveaways, entertainment, a kids’ zone and healthy snacks with the ultimate goal of raising funds to prevent heart disease and stroke, the country’s No. 1 and No. 5 health threats. Accrediting the turnout of the Sunday-morning event, AHA Regional Vice President Mark Hurley said the first Greater Northern New Jersey Heart Walk was “a huge success.”

Sponsored nationally by Subway, the event was also locally sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health, Kessler Rehabilitation Institute, Bayer, NJM Insurance Group and Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Pharmacy. Media sponsors included TAPinto.net, WDHA-FM, WMTR-AM and PIX 11.

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“RWJBarnabas Heath system is proud and excited to support the American Heart Association Heart Walk,” said Stephen Zieniewicz, President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, which has supported the Heart Walk for several years. “We believe that we should be healthy together and this is an activity that brings the community together to support better outcomes and protect against heart disease and stroke.”

The American Heart Association uses the funds raised through the Heart Walk to finance cutting-edge scientific research, conduct public and professional education programs and advocate for public health. The walk itself serves as the cornerstone recognition and celebration event that brings together thousands across more than 300 cities each year.

Inspired by the fact that heart disease and stroke remain the leading health threats to all Americans, Team Mommina’s Angels, which walks annually in memory of Phyllis Romano of Newark, was one of many teams that attended once again on Oct. 23 in support of the cause.

“We’ve had many family members pass away from heart disease,” said Romano’s daughter, Alexis. “We want to walk and promote for everybody to be aware of what heart struggles people have and to be more cautious and prevent and heart attacks or heart diseases in the future.”

For the first time this year, AHA also introduced the “Kids Heart Challenge,” a special half-mile course with obstacles designed specifically for children ages 5-12. With a $10 donation per child, all participants received a Kids Heart Challenge bandana upon registration and a finisher medal. 

Lizzy Soranno, a student at Newark Academy, kick-started the races with her rendition of the National Anthem. Dan Mannarino, a reporter from WPIX-TV, emceed for the remainder of the event.

Serving as members of the executive leadership team this year to the Greater Northern New Jersey Heart Walk possible were Northern New Jersey business leaders, Leanne Blair (Morristown, NJ), Director of Marketing, Bayer Aspirin at Bayer Consumer Care; Joseph P. Cadicina, Esq. (Franklin Lakes, NJ), managing member of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Boyd. LLC; Omari S. Frazier, MBA (Maplewood, NJ), Vice President and Senior Market Manager, Investors Bank; Dr. Robert Hilkert (Montgomery Township, NJ), Vice President and Global Program Medical Director in the Cardiovascular and Metabolism Group at Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation; William Neate MBA, MA (Tewksbury, NJ), system administrator for Cardiovascular Services for Atlantic Health in Northern New Jersey; Ami (Doshi) Simunovich (Morristown, NJ), Associate General Counsel, Regulatory and Compliance, at C. R. Bard and Carl J. Soranno (Flanders, NJ), Member, Business Litigation Chair, Family Law, Brach Eichler.