HeartChase runs ‘Amazing Race’-style challenges in Holland


The American Heart Association reports that America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers are heart disease and stroke. Photo via fb.com

It’s being described as the nonprofit version of “Amazing Race” meets “Minute to Win It.”

The American Heart Association is hosting Holland’s first HeartChase event this Saturday, from 9-11:30 a.m., at the Padnos Transportation Center in downtown Holland.

Challenge checkpoints

Teams of two to five people will compete in a two hour race-like event, focusing on health challenge checkpoints spread over a two-mile radius across Holland.

Some challenges could include hula-hoop stations, performing a Zumba routine or crawling through an “artery” fabric tunnel with foam noodles representing cholesterol.

The teams will race through downtown, solving puzzles and completing fun, heart-healthy challenges to raise money for the AHA to help prevent and fight heart disease and stroke.

“There’s a serious message underneath all of the whacky challenges,” said Sherri Cadeaux, a member of the HeartChase committee. “The event is designed to get people moving and to help raise awareness of heart disease and stroke, which are the area’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, respectively. That affects a lot of area families. We invite local business, church and civic groups, family and friends to form a team and join in the fun.”

Heart association's work

The event raises funds for the nonprofit through an entry fee of $20 per participant and through sponsors, said Cindy Bouma, AHA communications director. 

“The funds will go toward education efforts that we do in the area and will also go toward research projects involving cardiac and stroke issues," Bouma said. "We provide materials for some classrooms, we provide materials for patients and educate area residents on cardiac risk factors.

“Another example of our efforts includes CPR training through our training centers and advocacy efforts," she said. "We are working on legislation such as Michigan House Bill 4272, requiring schools to develop a cardiac emergency response plan. In other words, school personnel and even students will know what to do should someone go into cardiac arrest.”

The American Heart Association piloted HeartChase in Battle Creek and in Traverse City in the state of Michigan last year, Bouma said, but this is the first time the event is being hosted in Holland.

This year, AHA plans to expand HeartChase to a number of other cities.

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