Solon Springs teen has raised more than $8,000 to fight heart diseaseWhen Joey Androsky started collecting donations in 2003 for the annual Twin Ports Heart Walk, few could turn him down. Since 2003, he has raised more than $8,000.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
When Joey Androsky started collecting donations in 2003 for the annual Twin Ports Heart Walk, few could turn him down.
He was 8 years old, knocking on doors in Solon Springs with his
2-year-old sister in a stroller and his 4-year-old brother holding the pledge envelopes.
“They couldn’t say no,” Joey says.
He raised nearly $700 that first year for the American Heart Association and walked proudly with his mother’s team from Interim HealthCare.
“It’s fun to be at the walks,” he says. “And it’s a good cause.”
He has been participating every year since, typically raising about $1,000 each year. Since 2003, he has raised more than $8,000.
Joey will be back again Saturday for the 13th annual Northland Start! Heart Walk in Duluth, which sets out from the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center at 9 a.m. for a three-mile walk on the Lakewalk.
“I’m absolutely impressed by this young man,” says Ron Ozan of the American Heart Association in Duluth. “You don’t get a lot of young people that get that involved that early and continue that length of time.”
As consistently one of the Heart Walk’s top five fundraisers, Joey is used to getting up in front of adults to speak and be recognized.
“We’re very proud of him,” says his mother, Kamie Androsky. “He’s hobnobbed with bank presidents, with people from UMD. He’s gotten experience he normally wouldn’t have had.”
This year, local organizers hope the event draws more than 1,000 walkers and raises $200,000 for research to fight heart disease.
Now 14, Joey says collecting donations has become more challenging. The recession has left many unable to give. He’s also found that people are less trusting of teenagers.
Being on the school football team with practice after school has also cut into his fundraising time. So he’s had to work extra hard on weekends to gather the typical $5, $10 and $20 donations.
It has paid off. He had already raised $1,450 as of Friday.
His strategy is direct.
“I introduce myself,” he says. “I tell them what I’m doing, tell them what the Heart Walk is all about, and ask if they want to help.”
The cause is close to his heart. His grandfather underwent triple bypass surgery years ago. A great aunt was one of the first in the country to have open heart surgery, and his mother’s co-worker gave birth in June to a baby boy with a serious heart condition.
“I’m walking for him this year,” Joey says.
What: 2009 Northland Start! Heart Walk
When: 9 a.m. Saturday; registration begins at 7:45 a.m.
Where: Walkers gather at Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Pioneer Hall, followed by a three-mile walk along the Lakewalk
Why: American Heart Association fundraiser to support heart and stroke research.
Getting involved: Walkers can organize as teams, collecting donations before the walk. But anyone can walk to promote healthy lifestyles.
To register: Call (218) 727-7297 or visit northlandheartwalk.org