Heartwarming Inspiration

This year’s American Heart Association Heart Walk has special meaning for Coco Kneisly, administrative manager for Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development (FOD). Her father, Dr. Edmund “Ed” Byrne, passed away from congestive heart failure in October 2021.

“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and watching my dad’s health and mobility decline were stark reminders of how important it is to make one’s physical and emotional health a priority,” Kneisly said.

To honor her dad’s memory, Kneisly, who also serves as a Buckeye wellness innovator, will join FOD’s Team Heart and Sole for the AHA Central Ohio Heart Walk on Saturday, August 20 in downtown Columbus.

“Coco has been a champion taking on health and wellness personally,” said Mark Conselyea, vice president of FOD and board member of the Central Ohio Heart Association. “In addition to the Heart Walk, she’s making sure people are aware of different wellness initiatives across Ohio State’s campus.”

Conselyea is encouraging OSU staff to lace up their walking shoes for the event. He and Kristin Poldemann, associate vice president of Facilities Design and Construction (FDC), are coaches for team Heart and Sole.

“I’ve always been interested in fitness and I’ve been a supporter of Pelotonia in the past,” Poldemann said. “It’s a huge personal goal of mine to stay healthy, exercise, take care of myself and model the behavior for the folks that we work with.”

Team Heart and Sole hopes to raise $5,000 and is well on its way with early donations.

“This is a great way to give back to the community,” Conselyea said. “A lot of people have been touched by heart disease and stroke in one way or another and you can help by spending your time, talent and resources.”

Nationally, more than a one million people are expected to walk in this year’s 300 total events to take a stand against heart disease. According to the American Heart Walk’s website, cardiovascular disease occurs every 39 seconds and is the number one killer of all Americans.

The organization’s overall goal is to raise $3 million. The money raised will support research to better prevent and treat heart disease among patients and groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research that is key to saving babies’ lives.

“I hope people use this as an opportunity to start or advance their own wellness efforts to improve themselves and encourage their colleagues to get more exercise and take better care of themselves,” Conselyea said.

You can join the team, or donate to support their efforts, by visiting the  Heart and Sole team page.