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News ‘Macon Your Heart Beat’ fundraiser draws many, raises hopes and cash

The “serious” group of runners lead the way. The eventual winner is in the center Jeff Howard #22, the FHS track coach and social studies teacher. The front four runners are Jake Watkins, Jeffrey Howard, Matt Baughman, and Deputy Sheriff Tom Tenhagen.For those in Franklin suffering from cardiac and pulmonary illnesses, the rehabilitation they need after treatment may now become affordable.

Overall 1st place Team Finishers Julie Perone, Jamie Fletcher, and Sonya Shook. Contributed photosLast Saturday, Angel Medical Center held its first annual “Macon Your Heart Beat” 5K walk/run event, to raise funds for its Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program on the Little Tennessee Greenway. The program allows patients to properly recuperate from treatment, which according to program director Tom Forkner, is rarely fully covered by insurance plans.

“It went really, really well,” said Forkner, who helped organize the event. Forkner reported that 159 people participated in the event by walking or running in the 5K event, which raised $4,500. “Our expenses were covered pretty quickly.”

From left, Allison Forkner, Tom Forkner, and overall 1st place winner Jeffrey Howard.Participants walked either 1 mile, or ran the full 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) on the Greenway, from the Tassee Shelter, to Fox Ridge Road, to Centennial Park and then returning to Tassee.

“It’s not only brought a great awareness to the community, but we had a great response from the community in terms of the participation. I would have been happy with half as many people,” said Forkner. “I was overwhelmed to have almost 160 people participate.”

The top fund-raising team was the N.C. State Highway Patrol team, which raised $500.

Several local businesses provided sponsorship for the program including Tek Tone, Sports Zone, Nantahala Bank, Macon Bank, Bi-Lo, Shaw Industries, Hungry Bear, Mill Creek, United Community Bank, Wayah Insurance, Wachovia, Caterpillar and Gooder Grafix.

Anyone interested in donating to the program may do so by contacting Forkner at (828)349-8291. Pictures from the event can be seen at www.flicker.com/photos/angelmed/.


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