An ancient proverb states that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While local students may not log in quite that many miles, they will be encouraged to start journeys of their own in a partnership with Bassett Healthcare — a journey to fight heart disease.
Seventh-grade students at several local schools who attend the UpClose Cardiac Surgery Program at Bassett Medical Center over the next two months will have the opportunity to take home two pedometers and a letter inviting them to take part in the Go Red Challenge with their mother or guardian. The Go Red Challenge is a friendly competition between schools signed up for Bassett’s UpClose program in January or February.
The UpClose Cardiac Surgery Program teaches seventh-graders about the physical dangers of smoking, the clinical benefits of regular exercise, and how to maintain a heart-healthy diet. During the three-hour program, students also have the opportunity to view open heart surgery and ask questions of the surgeon.
The Go Red Challenge is sponsored by Bassett; Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which supports the UpClose Cardiac Surgery Program through an annual grant; and New York Central Mutual Insurance Company in Edmeston, which donated the pedometers. Among the seventh-graders who will have the opportunity to participate in the Challenge are those from Schoharie, Worcester, Stamford, Duanesburg, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton, Jefferson and Mount Markham central schools. The winning team from each school will receive a $50 gift certificate to an area sporting goods store; the overall winning team will receive new bicycles from an area bike shop.
The Go Red Challenge coincides with the approach of National Wear Red Day, Feb. 1, an event created by the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, which seeks to raise awareness of heart disease in women.
Bassett Chief of Cardiac Surgery Dr. Robert Layton, who created the UpClose Cardiac Surgery Program at Bassett in 2002, said the program helps women be aware of risks and proactive about their health.
A special UpClose program will be held at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown in March for the mothers taking part in the Challenge, as well as the public.
For more information, visit www.bassett.org.