More than 3,000 runners, walkers to put heart and sole into Heart Walk and 5K Run at Eastern Michigan University May 10

Will new EMU graduate save or shave his epic 14-inch beard during fundraiser?

by Pamela Young, Published May 08, 2014

YPSILANTI - More than 3,000 walkers and runners, along with 160 dogs, will put their best foot forward at Eastern Michigan University during the 2014 Washtenaw County Heart Walk and 5K Run this Saturday, May 10.

The goal is to raise $175,000 to help raise funds needed for lifesaving cardiac research and education.

The grounds open at 8 a.m. at the EMU Student Center, 900 Oakwood, Ypsilanti, with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. The 5K run begins at 9 a.m. followed by the walk at 9:30 a.m. The course travels around the EMU campus.

“It’s amazing that 3,000 runners and walkers are participating,” says Tara Tomcsik, corporate events director, Washtenaw County Campaigns. “Not only is Eastern hosting one of the largest Heart Walks in Washtenaw County, the University is ranked number one in corporate donations. EMU’s goal was $25,000 and they’ve reached nearly $30,000 at this time. Several EMU employees also are among the top fundraisers.”

Special activities include:

  • The motto:  “Save It or Shave It.”  Ryan Huntington, a recent 2014 EMU graduate, may have to change his facial features. Huntington has a 14-inch red beard that will come off if the $175,000 goal is reached. The challenge continues until 9:15 a.m., when the winning side – grow more hair or off with the epic beard – will be announced. Check out Huntington’s booth near the EMU basketball courts across from the Student Center.  Save It and Shave It buckets will be available to catch those late donations.
  • What are all the capes about? Runners, walkers and even canines have a chance to wear a super hero cape that shows their support. Those raising $250 get a red full-size super hero cape. Raise $500 for a silver one and $1,000 wins the gold. All Super Heroes – in dress of course - are invited to participate.
  •  Several Rosie the Riveters will be on hand to lend support.
  •  There will be free health screenings, music and refreshments.


Media parking is available in the Student Center lot.  Participants should park in the Green Lot 1 off Huron River Drive on Ann St.

For more information, go to or call Pam Young, Eastern Michigan, at 734-320-7976 or Tara Tomcsik, American Heart Association, at 734-945-5895

Pamela Young

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