37 Million Steps – And Counting

By: Amy Ashbridge

How many steps can 200 associates at UPMC East take? Approximately 37 million — and they keep going.

Coordinators hoped that around 80 people would sign up to take a walking challenge and support the American Heart Association (AHA). More than twice that number — from frontline staff to the UPMC East leadership team — ended up joining in. Many had moving personal stories and reasons for participating. Some wanted simply to get in shape for upcoming weddings, while others participated in honor of family members.

“My mother died of heart disease at 56, at a time when little was known about women with heart disease,” said Donna Durant, CRNP, one of the walking challenge coordinators and a walk participant. “UPMC East embraces health and wellness, which I believe are the key to making changes.”

Durant said she was especially motivated by watching those around her, and she received strong support from her supervisors and leadership. “I never used the stairs,” Durant noted, “but I do now.”

For a $15 donation to the AHA, participants received a pedometer, T-shirt, and the chance to compete for top prizes and smaller weekly prizes. Each member of the winning team, as well as the top individual walker, will receive FitBits, which were donated by UPMC East physicians and local businesses. The competition began in early April, and will end the first week of June.

The walking challenge isn’t the only way UPMC East is supporting its fundraising goals for the AHA and the annual Heart Walk, which will take place Nov. 8 at Heinz Field. The hospital kicked off its events with “East Madness,” a weekly free-throw competition held to coincide with the NCAA basketball tournament, and will also hold the popular Race to No Place later this summer.