Scavenger hunt helps raise money to stop heart disease

Freshmen Stephanie Franz, Megan Reily, and Kim Chamales develop a game plan during the Hunt for Heart photo scavenger hunt, Saturday. The event raised money for the American Heart Association. Katie Lafferty

Freshmen Stephanie Franz, Megan Reily, and Kim Chamales develop a game plan during the “Hunt for Heart” photo scavenger hunt, Saturday. The event raised money for the American Heart Association. Katie Lafferty

By Brittany Abeijon

Participants helped fight heart disease Saturday during the Illini Heartbeats’ “Hunt for Heart” scavenger hunt by finding the largest table on campus and taking a picture of it.

The Registered Student Organization hosted its first campuswide scavenger hunt, where teams of five raced around campus to raise money for the American Heart Association in hopes to further their research and stop heart disease locally and nationally.

The Illini Heartbeats is a Registered Student Organization dedicated to stopping heart disease in Champaign-Urbana.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S. Ryan Carr, senior in LAS and the advertising coordinator for Illini Heartbeats, said more than one-third of all deaths in Champaign County are attributed to cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

The group believes that by donating the proceeds of Saturday’s event to the American Heart Association, the University and the Champaign-Urbana community can help to fight the battle locally.

Eight teams brought the competitors to 40 people who registered for an entry fee of $50 per team.

“We believe research and community education will make heart disease something we can work together to prevent and face with hope,” Carr said. “Life-saving drugs, community education and advanced medical procedures are the key to limiting this threat.”

Ben Goold, senior in LAS and president of Illini Heartbeats, said although the group set a goal of raising $2,000 from this event, they only raised about $400.

“It was not as successful as we thought it would be,” Goold said. “But we plan on doing it again next year with different sponsors.”

This year sponsors included local vendors who donated prizes to be awarded to the winning team.

Although the group aims to reduce heart disease locally, their funds go to a national organization. All of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association to help with education outreach and research grants.

“We start locally, but a certain portion of that ends up in the national pool as well,” Goold said.

Illini Heartbeats is primarily a volunteer group that donates their time and knowledge in various ways, such as local after-school programs to help educate kids.

“Kids in second grade are pretty receptive,” Goold said. “It’s harder to get college-aged people to listen to our purpose. We think we are all going to live forever at this point.”