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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.