Bill Benoit, President of UH Portage Medical Center, is chairing the American Heart Association’s 2020 Greater Akron Heart Walk, an event that draws more than 4,000 community members and aims to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight heart disease and stroke.

"I have a family history of heart disease," Benoit said. "I personally have had cardiac issues. One morning on my way to work, I was experiencing shortness of breath. I went right to the emergency room and I found out I had an atrial flutter and needed a cardiac ablation.

"That was about two years ago. Around that same time, my father had to have open-heart surgery. Chairing the 2020 Greater Akron Heart Walk was an easy choice for me. Being hospital president and working closely with our cardiology department and the cath lab, teaming up with the American Heart Association lined up well both personally and professionally for me."

The 2020 Greater Akron Heart Walk is scheduled to take place Aug. 29 at Lock 3 in downtown Akron. The Heart Walk is a fundraising event that celebrates survivors of heart disease and stroke and encourages the community to make a commitment to be healthy for good.

"I want to do whatever I can to help," Benoit said. "I want to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention methods, while raising money for Heart Walk that can be used for research dollars for prevention and intervention.

"It is my job as hospital president to be a good community partner and community steward and bring everyone together."