Around 25,000 people are expected to converge on Metropolitan Park in Downtown Jacksonville Sunday, Nov. 19, for the American Heart Association’s First Coast Healthy for Good Heart Walk, which will raise funds for the organization’s fight against heart disease and stroke. While the idea of chairing such a big event might seem daunting to some, Ponte Vedra resident and Web.com CEO David Brown was happy to take on the task.
“Health, for our company, is something that we’re very passionate about,” Brown explained. “The health of our employees – not just the physical health, but also the mental and emotional health – has been a big focus of our company.”
Brown described Web.com as a digital marketing company for small businesses. The company, which has numerous offices around the world, strives to prioritize health in the workplace by providing free onsite medical clinics for employees and actively encouraging them to monitor their health.
“The idea is, if you have a healthy employee group, you have a healthier company,” Brown said.
After having implemented and prioritized health-conscious programs and practices in the workplace, Brown and his company decided it was time to expand their outreach.
“Because heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States – in fact, it kills more folks than the next four things combined – we thought it was a logical step for us to take our campaign not just to our employees, but to the community,” Brown said. “Chairing the Heart Walk was just my way of saying, ‘We’re going to put our money where our mouth is and step out into the community.’”
According to the American Heart Association, participation in exercises that yield an increase in heartrate can improve one’s energy levels, strength and mood, and can also help to fight off serious health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol and bone loss. According to Brown, one of the goals of the Healthy for Good Heart Walk is just to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
“It’s frankly much more of a social experience than it is a fitness experience, and that’s really what we want it to be,” Brown said. “We want people to be encouraged to just take a step towards good health.”
The overall fundraising goal for the event is $1.75 million, though Brown said that his company has their own goal to meet.
“At Web, we’re trying to raise over $100,000, and I won’t let the cat out of the bag completely, but we’re going to blow our goal away,” he said.
Originally planned for Sept. 16, the 2017 First Coast Heart Walk was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Check-in for the event will start at 8 a.m. on Nov. 19 at 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd. in Jacksonville. Prior to the Walk, which will begin at 9:30 a.m., attendees will have the opportunity to partake in other healthy activities.
“More than 25,000 people will come,” Brown said. “Everybody has a fantastic time, everyone’s smiling, and as I always say, anytime you can see 25,000 people smiling at the same time, that’s a really good day.”