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Anna Jaques Hospital and The Tannery Marketplace Light Torch for Heart Disease Awareness

Heart-Healthy Torch to Travel Local Communities During Winter Olympics

NEWBURYPORT, MA (February 3, 2010) – To help shed light on heart disease, the #1 killer of both men and women, Anna Jaques Hospital and The Tannery Marketplace are embarking on an important heart disease awareness and prevention public service campaign, involving the seven communities surrounding the hospital. From Saturday, February 13, through Saturday, February 27, heart disease survivors, elected officials, community volunteers, and professional runners will be carrying a special battery-operated Torch between Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Georgetown, West Newbury, Salisbury, and Amesbury.

In keeping with the spirit of the Olympic athletes gearing up for the Gold in Vancouver, The Tannery Marketplace is introducing Lace Up & Shape Up, a weight-loss challenge for a healthier heart, to begin with the Healthy Heart Torch tour, and to end in early June, with weigh-ins and rewards along the way.

The Healthy Heart Torch tour commences at The Tannery Marketplace at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 13. The Torch will be presented to Mayor Holaday, who will proclaim the day “Healthy Heart Day” in Newburyport. She will have the honor of presenting the Torch to Michele DeMarco Wilkie, a two-time heart attack survivor at the young age of 33. Wilkie will pass the Torch to local long-distance runner Rick Bayko, who will carry it around Newburyport, and, along with Peter Shactman, physician assistant with Clipper Cardiology, to its first destination, Newbury Town Hall, on Tuesday, February 16. One of the final torchbearers will include Dr. Sunny Srivastava, a cardiologist with Pentucket Medical, who is training for the Boston Marathon. He will bring the Torch to the final town on the route, Amesbury, on Friday, February 26. The Torch will return to The Tannery Marketplace on Saturday, February 27, where residents can sign up for the Lace Up & Shape Up weight-loss challenge.

“While heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America, lifestyle choices can greatly reduce the risk of cardiac arrest: Exercise, eat well, and don’t smoke. As with the Olympians, the Healthy Heart Torch is a symbol of life, celebration, and commitment. This is a joyful campaign about making a change for the better,” said Deborah Chiaravalloti, vice president of public relations and marketing for Anna Jaques Hospital. The Torch ceremony will be replicated in Newbury, Rowley, Georgetown, West Newbury, Salisbury, and Amesbury with civic leaders and heart disease survivors from each town. Residents who spot the Healthy Heart Torch en route are encouraged to post their sightings to twitter and facebook. Log onto and click on the torch for important heart health information, and to link to the hospital’s social media sites.