MICHIGAN CITY — Bolt for the Heart announced its second annual 5K Family Run/Walk and inaugural Half Marathon at a kickoff event hosted by event sponsor Franciscan Health Michigan City.

The race is set for 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Washington Park, and 100 percent of the net proceeds from sponsorships and tax-deductible registrations will go to purchasing AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) to be placed into La Porte County first responder vehicles.

“Our EMS departments do heroic things, however most of the time, since our law enforcement officers’ cars are mobile, they are the first to a scene where someone may need an AED and CPR,” Bolt for the Heart president Pierre Twer said.

“These heroes are trained and can be very effective in saving someone’s life. These AEDs will save lives and increase the chance of survival.”

Twer, originally from Michigan City, said Bolt for the Heart will be donating 25 AEDs on Thursday to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “This is something we do throughout the whole state, and we want La Porte County taken care of.”

La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd, who attended the kickoff with La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin, noted that La Porte County is the second largest geographically in the state.

“We are first responders, and often times, we’re the first arriving on scene of a medical emergency,” Boyd said. “When seconds and minutes count, this will give us the opportunity to save countless lives.”

As the presenting sponsor of Bolt for the Heart–LaPorte County, Franciscan Health is committed to keeping race participants healthy and safe, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, president and CEO Dean Mazzoni said.

Adjustments to the race will include social distancing, hand sanitizing, face masks, as well as a virtual race option.

“We’re confident that we can do this in a safe and responsible way. I know for a fact, because I’ve seen plans, that our event organizers have taken great steps to assure things will be done safely and responsibly,” Mazzoni said.

“With COVID-19 in our midst, we know that many people are putting off needed routine care and even maintenance care for chronic conditions, which leads to poor outcomes.” he said. “It’s more important than ever that our law enforcement officers, our first responders, have this technology at their fingertips.”

Also attending the kickoff was Julie West, founder of the Play For Jake Foundation, which will once again be a participating sponsor in the race. The foundation is named in honor of Jake West, a La Porte High School football player who passed away suddenly during practice from an undetected heart condition.

The organization aims to increase awareness and educate parents and youth about the dangers of undetected heart conditions, a goal that goes hand-in-hand with Bolt for the Heart.

Online registration and sponsorship options for the Bolt for the Heart Family 5K/Half Marathon will be available at www.boltfortheheart.com on July 29.

Bolt for the Heart is a not-for-profit that raises money through sponsors, donations and family 5Ks/half marathons to buy AEDs for donation. It has donated more than 2,000 AEDs to date.

In 2018 the organization’s goal was to finish outfitting the entire Indiana State Police patrol team with 134 AEDs – a goal which was accomplished. Bolt has also donated 465 AEDs to ISP to date.

La Porte County Law enforcement patrol cars and the sheriff’s team is the focus after 23 AEDs were donated in 2019.

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