City leaders and neighbors hit the boardwalk for 'Walk with the Mayor and Council' event

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach city leaders and neighbors hit the boardwalk on Sunday to bring awareness to the American Heart Association. Mayor Brenda Bethune was joined by council members and community members for the walk.  While everyone was there to support the same cause, some of their reasons for walking were different.

"I think it gives you a chance to see the city council and the mayor and gives you a chance on an informal basis to say what interests you," said Phil Hayes.

"To me this is what makes the city special when people could come together, have fun, and support a great cause," said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune.

The American Heart Association's Walk with the Mayor and Council event was a way for members of the community to connect with leaders in our area. It's also a way to bring awareness to the American Heart Association.

"This is to bring awareness to health and wellness and bring a healthy opportunity for our residents to get together," said American Heart Association's Michelle Bessett.

"You got to take care of yourself and you got to take care of your heart. That's the number one organ that makes it all happen," said Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus.

The American Heart Association says heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country. The organization says South Carolina is among the top ten states with the highest impacts from cardiovascular disease

"This community recently lost a community leader to heart disease with Joe Defeo passing away of a heart attack last week," Lazarus said.

Horry County School board chairman Joe Defeo suffered a heart attack on Thursday. He was 65 years old.

"It's really important that we take a minute to actually stop and reassess our own health needs and try to get healthier and get better," she said. "80% percent of heart disease and stroke are preventable, so taking that personal choice to do it, you know. You can make a difference in your own health."

Bessett says it just takes little changes to your lifestyle to make a healthy difference.

"It's never too late to start. Start where you are, it's what we talk about at heart walks and things like this. Not everyone is a marathon runner the day they start running, not everyone is a body builder the day the join the gym. You have to start somewhere and days like this are a good reminder and a good reason to say 'hey you know what I can start,'" said Bessett.

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