On Saturday, October 14th I grabbed Ashley (my wonderful daughter) and went to the annual Hartford Heart Walk as a volunteer. I debated whether or not I should leave her at home or take her with me to be my assistant for the event. She knows that mummy has heart disease and she talks about my scar and my sick heart every chance she gets so I figured dragging her along to the event could be a teachable moment. My daughter loves to be outdoors interacting with other people, especially other kids (only child problems).
I am happy I took her along for the ride. She got to meet heart disease survivors of all ages, she chatted it up with other kids and she was the official volunteer handing out the survivor capes to the little heart hero survivors. As I looked at the event it became apparent that by design it was a family affair.
Let’s face it, heart disease does not only affect the individuals living with (or passed from) the disease, instead, it affects their families, friends, colleagues and their entire support network. Given that fact, shouldn’t an event celebrating heart disease survivors and honoring those who lost their battle with heart disease be an all-inclusive family event? Well, it sure was at the Hartford Heart Walk!
The event had a kids zone with Disney princesses, face painting, animal balloons, pumpkin decorating, bubbles and the list goes on and on. I soon realized that my decision to bring Ashley to the event was not an original one. There were a number of kids present decked in the red attire or their team t-shirts lending their support to an important cause. Not only was the Hartford Heart Walk kid-friendly, it was also pet-friendly with bandanas and hydration stations for our little furry friends.
So the next time you get invited to a heart walk…bring the kids along and make it a family affair. If we expose the kiddos to heart disease awareness early on it may have a positive impact on their lives and it is a great conversation starter to talk about diet, health, and lifestyle choices.
In the end, Ashley had a great time at the event and she is already talking about volunteering next year.
Do you involve your kids in your volunteer activities?