A sea of blue moved together down Associates Boulevard on Saturday, Sept. 19, as Blount Memorial Hospital’s Moving Together walk brought community members, doctors and patients together to raise awareness of the epidemic of obesity.
Moving Together was a one-mile walk at the Blount Memorial Wellness Center at Springbrook and was coordinated through the Blount Memorial Bariatric Services department. The walk was both an effort to raise awareness and raise funds to assist patients in the Weight Management Center.
About 80 people attended the one-mile walk, said Blount Memorial Bariatric Services coordinator Dana Bradley. Participants included staff from the Blount Memorial Wellness Center and Weight Management Center, staff from Foothills Weight Loss Specialists, hospital staff, patient ambassadors, bariatric surgery patients, community members and children. Local vendors set up at the event, including representatives from Pellissippi State Community College and Prescription Solutions.
“We encouraged both pre- and post-surgery patients to attend,” Bradley said.
Bradley said this was the fifth year that Blount Memorial has had an obesity walk, teaming up on previous obesity walks with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Blount Memorial Foundation Director Jane Andrews said the successful event raised more than $5,500.
“The proceeds go to assist our Weight Management Center patients -- both surgical and non-surgical weight loss -- with resources, education and other assistance,” Andrews said. “The project also builds awareness about the issues surrounding obesity and weight management.”
The event began at 8 a.m., with live music from Jackie Midkiff, who was a contestant in the preliminary rounds of “American Idol,” and his band. Participants registered and received T-shirts to gear up for the one-mile walk. Participants also had the option to continue walking past the one-mile mark.
Once they crossed the finish line, participants joined together to play Bingo, listen to more live music from the Jackie Midkiff band and collect door prizes. Children enjoyed an obstacle course, hula hoops, speed ladder, jump rope and a bouncy arena.
Bradley said she was happy to see the patient and hospital employee involvement in the Moving Together walk, and said they are planning to have the event again next year. She said she thinks it makes the community aware of the obesity epidemic, while also providing them of ways to become healthier.
“It is a good way for the community to come together to eradicate obesity,” Bradley said.