UK HealthCare

UK HealthCare Staff Set the Pace for 2022 Heart Walk

image of group of walkers and runners at the start gate at Keeneland.
UK HealthCare's Heart Walk team from a previous year.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2022) Every 30 seconds, someone has a heart attack. Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. One in three Americans has cardiovascular disease.

For Jackie Dawson, these aren’t just metrics and statistics. They are facts that hit close to home.

“Before my dad passed away, he lived 14 years with congestive heart failure,” Dawson said. “He danced at my wedding and because of the advancements in cardiac care, I was very fortunate to have that moment with him.”

Now the Heart Walk Director for the American Heart Association (AHA) chapter in Lexington, Dawson tells her dad’s story as example of how the funds raised by the AHA go directly to cardiovascular care and research.

The Annual AHA Central Kentucky Heart Walk brings people from across Central Kentucky together to raise funds and awareness for heart health. Participants can walk solo or as part of a team. One of the biggest teams comprises staff from UK HealthCare.

“Historically UK HealthCare has been one of, if not the leading participant in the heart walk,” said Justin Campbell, chief network development officer for UK HealthCare and chair of the Heart Walk for Central Kentucky. “UK HealthCare is a beneficiary and receives more money back in the way of grants and research support than we raise for the AHA. So it’s a really good return on investment.”

Heart Walk organizers hope to raise $300,000 in this year’s event, which will take place May 14 at Keeneland. UK HealthCare participants have already raised over $31,000 of their $30,000 goal.

The main mission of the AHA is to promote health advocacy, fund cardiovascular research and provide education opportunities, such as CPR training.

Sarah Katzenmaier, the featured speaker of the 2022 Heart Walk, found herself directly benefiting from CPR training.

“I died a couple of times on the night of Oct. 24, 2021,” Katzenmaier said. After collapsing at Lexington’s annual Thriller Parade, Katzenmaier received bystander CPR before paramedics arrived.

“Without CPR, their expertise would not have mattered,” Katzenmaier said.

In 2020, the Central Kentucky chapter of the AHA trained 159,376 Kentuckians in CPR. Through education, advocacy and research, cardiovascular disease has decreased by more than 71% from 1968 to 2018. Since 1971, AHA has funded 443 studies for a total of $35,547,984.30 to UK HealthCare.

AHA is currently funding seven new and continuing studies for a total of $3,508,676 at UK HealthCare.

The 2022 Heart Walk will take place on Saturday, May 14 at Keeneland. Registration is open for both teams and individuals. Please visit the Central Kentucky Heart Walk website at for more information.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.