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Staff member to receive Heart Association's LifeStyle Change Award

Edmonds College employee Liz Woolms will receive a LifeStyle Change Award from the American Heart Association. She will be honored on October 3 at the Puget Sound Heart Walk. Woolms works in the budget office at the college. After 35 years as a smoker, Woolms quit in August 2008 and began a fitness program — including yoga, aerobics, kick-boxing, and strength training classes — as part of her new non-smoking lifestyle. She walks daily, exercises at least three times a week, and has taken up bike riding.

Woolms said she was motivated to quit smoking after a friend’s husband had a fourth heart attack just before his 54th birthday.

"The doctor told him that the attacks were caused solely by smoking," Woolms said. "As I thought about my friend almost losing her husband and her child losing his father, I knew I had to stop smoking to support their family. That was it for me. I feel and look so much better, and I am less stressed.”

According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Cigarette smokers are two-to-three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. The Puget Sound Heart Walk, a 3 mile walk along the Alaskan Way Viaduct, takes place 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., beginning at Qwest Field, 800 Occidental Ave S., Seattle.

The walk honors all those touched by heart disease and stroke, the number one and number three killers in the nation and raises funds to support cardiovascular research and community awareness programs.

Last year, an estimated 8,000 walkers participated in Seattle and raised $1.5 million.

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American Heart Association