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Wanda King leads 2024 Central Arkansas Heart Walk

Wanda King is putting her feet where her heart is. As this year’s chairperson of the American Heart Association’s annual Central Arkansas Heart Walk, she’s working to help others take care of their hearts and live longer, healthier lives.

Raising awareness

The walk will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at the North Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. There is no fee to participate.

Raising resources for research

King, vice president of the Federal Employee Program & Medicare Advantage Operations at Arkansas Blue Cross, has been focused on a $340,000 fundraising goal to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association. Every dollar donated goes toward heart research, CPR training and medical breakthroughs benefiting heart disease patients.

Giving her time, talents to help others

“I volunteer so that research can continue to improve the lives of people with heart disease as well as those who have not been diagnosed yet,” she said, adding that the walk unites the community in celebrating health and honoring survivors of heart issues and strokes.

The Heart Walk also rallies the employees in her Blue Cross family. Wanda joined Arkansas Blue Cross in 1992 as a sales representative and worked her way up within the Arkansas Blue Cross family of companies. Arkansas Blue Cross expects to have a sea of walkers in blue T-shirts.

Combating genetics

The walk is personal for King, who grew up in Cotton Plant, Arkansas (Woodruff County) and has lived with hypertension for 20 years. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can run in families, as it does in King’s. Both her parents had it, and her father died of a heart attack.

Stepping into a healthier life

King’s lifestyle choices have helped her keep her hypertension under control. In 2023, she needed a knee replacement, after a lifetime of marathons, walks and activity. Her doctor suggested she lose a little weight to make her recovery easier. She and her husband committed to a diet program. She lost 30 pounds, and her husband lost 50 pounds!

Looking toward the future

“I want to be around for my family,” she said, summing up her dedication to a healthy lifestyle.

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