[Skip to Content]

Upstate is top fundraiser for Syracuse Heart Walk

Upstate Medical University was the top fundraiser for the Syracuse Heart Walk this year raising nearly $24,000, easily surpassing its $20,000 goal. Upstate raised more money than any other institution. The walk was held April 14 at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College.

Upstate participates in the American Heart Association’s key fundraising event annually and has raised more than $122,000 for the organization since 2019.

“We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the members of Team Upstate,” said Jason Pomeroy, executive director of the American Heart Association in Syracuse. “For 100 years the American Heart Association has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy communities. With bold moves and support from donors like you, the Heart Challenge saves lives by bringing friends, families, coworkers, and neighbors together.”

The Heart Walk is one of Team Upstate’s key events of the year with participation from all across the Upstate campus. This year, 370 people participated. With bold moves and support from donors,

in 37 different teams representing various offices and departments at Upstate.

The most successful fundraising team this year comprises MedBest employees. The MedBest Heartbeats, which has been headed by Amy Williamson and Diane Zarnowski for the last several years, raised more than $4,000 for the Heart Walk this year.

“MedBest employees have always supported the Heart Walk and this year was no different,” Williamson said. “There’s never any arm-twisting in raising money for the American Heart Association.”

Zarnowski said her coworkers understand the good that agencies like the American Heart Association do and are eager to support its mission.

Upstate and the American Heart Association have forged a close working relationship over the years, especially on the research front, where Upstate scientists, among them Richard Veenstra, PhD; Mira Krendel, PhD; David Auerbach, PhD; and Xin Jie Chen, PhD; have been awarded more than $350,000 over the past five years for various studies on cardiac issues, including arrhythmias and seizures in Long QT Syndrome, a heart signaling disorder causing fast heartbeats.

“The Heart Walk kicks off Team Upstate’s yearly outreach for community support,” said Zanette Howe, Upstate director of community relations and events. “Giving back to the community is a major part of our outreach mission.”

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Rely for Life, Syracuse Workforce Run, and Walk to End Alzheimer’s are just a few of the communitywide fundraisers Upstate employees' support each year.

To see photos from the April 14 Heart Walk, go here.

Caption: Diane Zarnowski, left, and Amy Williamson are captions for MedBest Heart Walk team, which was the top Upstate fundraising team, raising more than $4,000.