New CycleNation Event Celebrates Survivors, Raises Funds to Fight Stroke

Stroke and heart disease are largely preventable. More than 160 people shared that message, and invested in their own health, at the Mohawk Valley’s first ever CycleNation. The event, held at Thrive Athletic Center in New Hartford, raised more $50,000. For two hours, teams of four rode stationary bikes in a relay-style to help the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, fight stroke.


Stroke is the nation’s No. 5 killer. About 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year. That’s more than the populations of Oneida, Madison, Lewis, Herkimer and Otsego Counties combined!


“CycleNation is a rally ride to educate and encourage our community to stay active and incorporate a healthy lifestyle into their daily routine,” said CycleNation chairman Albert Pylinski, of NYCM Insurance. “Cycling strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces cholesterol. Additionally, cycling increases brain function, processing speed and mental alertness. We are really proud of our work through CycleNation and we know that through our local efforts we will be able to save countless lives.”


Being physically active is important to prevent heart disease and stroke. To improve overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association American Stroke Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.


“We are making great progress in preventing, beating and treating stroke,” said Christine Kisiel, executive director of the American Heart Association. “But it is still a leading cause of long-term disability. It’s very moving to hear all the survivors share their stories at CycleNation and encourage the crowd to live their best lives.”


CycleNation is a high energy, indoor stationary cycling event. Teams of four ride stationary bikes in relay format. Each team member rides for 30 minutes. Throughout the evening, riders met stroke survivors, local celebrities, and more. Teams raised money to help fund research, education and advocacy programs.


CycleNation is nationally sponsored by Amgen Cardiovascular and is locally sponsored by NYCM Insurance, Mountainside Medical Equipment, Ford English Financial Group and media sponsor Roser Communications Network.


For information, visit


America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Kickoff

America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk is off and running!


The American Heart Association hosted a kickoff to the Heart Run & Walk season Wednesday night at Daniele’s at Valley View. The event featured walkers, team coaches, survivors, sponsors, volunteers, and more.


During the event, the American Heart Association announced this year’s fundraising goal of $1,000,000. Fundraising efforts for the Heart Run & Walk will be led by chairman Jeremy Robinson, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations Management at NYCM Insurance, the presenting sponsor of America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk.


“The American Heart Association has achieved incredible things, but heart disease and stroke are still our number one and number five killers,” Robinson said. “We still face unhealthy lifestyles and social determinants, like poverty and healthy food access, that make it difficult for some to get and stay healthy. Events like America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk can help make our community healthier. NYCM Insurance is proud to be a part of these transformational efforts.”


Other highlights for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk include the following:


  • The Healthy for Good Expo, will be held on Friday, March 6th at Utica College. The Expo will be held from 9a.m. – 7p.m. Health & Wellness Assessment Screenings sponsored by Mohawk Valley Health System will take place throughout the Expo.  Areas covered will include health-related material, free screenings and wellness information.
  • WIBX Heart Radiothon, sponsored by Slocum-Dickson Medical Group, P.L.L.C., will be broadcast on WIBX of Townsquare Media. The Heart Radiothon will be broadcast on Friday, March 6th from 6a.m. – 7p.m. and Saturday, March 7th from 6a.m. – 1p.m. and streamed online at
  • WKTV Heart Telethon, sponsored by Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig Inc., will be broadcast live by WKTV NewsChannel 2 and streamed online at The Telethon will be broadcast live on Friday, March 6th from 7p.m. – 8p.m. on CBS Utica. Volunteers will be taking calls beginning at noon. The telethon will air on Saturday, March 7th from 8a.m. – 1p.m. on WKTV NewsChannel 2.
  • The popular Kids Heart Challenge, sponsored by AmeriCU Credit Union, will be held after Heart Weekend. The challenge will be held Friday, April 17th at 5pm at Accelerate Sports Complex. The event is an obstacle course for kids ages 5-12. Registration will be available online and at Accelerate Sports that evening.


The Association also announced this year’s Red Cap survivor ambassadors.  Our Red Cap ambassadors strive to educate and inform people of various cardiovascular diseases through their own personal and inspiring experiences.


Peter Corigliano – congenital heart defect survivor – Rome

Kie Cullings – congenital heart defect survivor – Taberg

Robert Miller – heart disease survivor, pacemaker recipient – New Hartford


Another highlight of the evening was a special recognition for Team Victoria. Members of the team received the Nick Racanelli Torch of Strength Award from the American Heart Association. The award recognizes a volunteer or staff person within the Founders Affiliate region who exemplifies a commitment to excellence and makes a significant impact on the American Heart Association through leadership and a passion for the mission.


Team Victoria started 25 years ago by Theresa and Dan Swider after their daughter Victoria was born with a heart defect. Over the past 25 years, Team Victoria has raised close to $700,000 at America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk and have fulfilled several volunteer roles.


“I’m in awe of this dedication,” said Nick Racanelli, former chairman of the American Heart Association’s Founders Affiliate advisory board and the award’s namesake. “I admire anyone who wants to give back. To me, that truly is the gift of life. We are grateful and love what you do with all our hearts.”


Photo caption correction:  Dorothy Sperbeck Cornnell, Allan Cornnell


If you are interested in forming a fundraising team or volunteering for the event on Saturday, March 7th, 2020, please contact the American Heart Association at 315.580.3964. You can register for the event at


America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 2020 is locally sponsored by signature sponsor NYCM Insurance; local sponsors Scalzo, Zogby and Wittig, Inc. Insurance; Slocum-Dickson Medical Group; and AmeriCU Credit Union. A minimum amount of $30 in pledges for participants 16 years and older is required at registration to participate in the Heart Run & Walk.  For more information on America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 2020, please contact the American Heart Association at 315.580.3964 or visit

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