Columbia Residents Join Mayor to Save Lives from City’s ‘Silent Killer’

Mayor Benjamin leads residents in series to fight heart disease – Columbia’s No. 1 Cause of Death

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will join residents in taking steps to fight the leading killer of Columbia citizens – heart disease.

Mayor Benjamin will continue the city’s Move with the Mayor Challenge, a series of activities that save lives by getting people on the road to a healthier heart.

The campaign, a partnership between the City of Columbia and the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention, encourages residents to walk, bike and even learn with the Mayor throughout the month of September until World Heart Day on Sept. 29.

“We’ve so enjoyed the work we’ve done with Move with the Mayor – it’s so fun that it doesn’t even feel like exercise,” said Mayor Benjamin. “We invite everyone to continue to fight heart disease across our city and promote healthy, active lifestyles for people of all ages.”

Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans every year. That’s roughly one out of every four deaths in the U.S.

Yet surveys show many people are unaware that heart disease kills more people than all types of cancer combined.

“Too many people don’t realize that heart disease is America’s No. 1 cause of death,” said John Clymer, executive director of the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention. “It’s a silent epidemic that’s killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

“But this doesn’t have to happen. Deaths from heart disease are preventable,” Clymer added. “That’s why we’re trying to spread the word and get people moving.”

Clymer said walking helps reduce the chances of dying from heart disease. In fact, research shows that walking just 30 minutes a day can significantly cut the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Columbia to fight this heartbreaking disease that claims so many lives every year,” said Clymer, whose nonprofit organization focuses on saving lives through public education and policy initiatives. “There are very few people who have not witnessed a loved one suffer from heart disease and die from it. “

The Move with the Mayor events for the month of September are:

  • Move with the Mayor – Northwood Hills

o    6:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 at 5125 Fairfield Rd, Columbia, SC 29203

  • Bike with the Mayor

o    6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11

  • How to Be Heart Healthy Educational Forum

o    6:30 p.m. on Sept. 18

  • World Heart Day

o    12 p.m. on Sept. 29

The goal is to get as many of Columbia’s residents moving as possible – not just on Move with the Mayor days but every day of the week.

In fact, Mayor Benjamin will be wearing an activity monitor to track the number of steps he takes each day.

“My goal is to get to 10,000 steps a day,” Mayor Benjamin said.

In addition to walking each day, the National Forum is urging Americans to follow the “ABCS” as outlined by the Million Hearts initiative:

A for aspirin: Take aspirin as recommended by your health care provider.
B for Blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked and find ways to lower it if necessary.

C for Cholesterol. Manage your cholesterol.

S for don’t Smoke. If you need help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit

“Just about anyone can take these simple steps to prevent heart disease and live a longer, healthier, happier life,” Clymer said. “The steps are small but the benefits are huge.”

To learn more about the mayor’s walks, visit


The National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention brings together the most dynamic and diverse organizations in cardiovascular health, providing a forum and outlet for organizations to amplify their voices. Our members currently represent more than 80 national and international organizations from the public and private healthcare organizations, as well as faith, advocacy, academic, and policy settings. The National Forum is an independent non-profit, 501(c)(3), voluntary health organization. To learn more, visit