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UAF teams raise $37,000 for healthy hearts

Submitted by Kay Koerner
Phone: 907-474-6959

05/19/08

Photo caption below.
Photo by Todd Paris, Marketing and Communications
Sgt. Joshua L. Rule, a volunteer soldier from Ft. Wainwright, poses with Marianne Freelong of UAF's Facilities Services at the start of the Fairbanks Heart Walk at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Fairbanks.
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University of Alaska Fairbanks teams, led by Judy Jones and Marianne Freelong, strode past their goal and raised more than $37,000 for the American Heart Association Saturday during the 2008 Fairbanks Heart Walk.

The money, raised by 170 faculty, staff and students, funds heart disease and stroke research. The 1- or 2.5-mile walk also promotes exercise and physical fitness.

"It was a no-brainer for both Steve and I to get involved," said Judy Jones, wife of UAF Chancellor Steve Jones. "Heart disease has affected nearly everyone; it's a real easy cause to get behind. Both of my parents died of heart disease and Steve's dad also."

In order to foster competitive fundraising, UAF departments organized smaller teams, including the Center for Health and Counseling, athletics department and Facilities Services, which was the lead fundraiser. Freelong led the Facilities Services team and was the top UAF female fundraiser with $3,000 in donations. She helped organize the teams, which used luncheons, bake sales, raffles and auctions to boost UAF's total donations. Her participation, like that of Jones and many others, is the result of personal loss.

"I participate," explained Freelong, "because in 2004, weeks before the Heart Walk, my sister passed away from a heart anomaly. The event triggered something in me and I knew I had to do something. I do this to honor my sister; I don't want her to have died in vain."

UAF alumna Billie Blanchard and her husband, Randy, led the local Heart Walk, which raised more than $224,000 from about 1,500 participants. Last year UAF teams raised about $42,000, making the university the top Heart Walk fundraiser in Fairbanks. This year, UAF was second to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital team, which raised nearly $45,000.

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos are available at www.uaf.edu/news.

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