MILLEDGEVILLE — Barbara Ingram-Stone is urging the community to get informed about risks associated with heart disease and methods of prevention.
This weekend’s Ingram Family Foundation’s 5K is held annually in memory of her beloved brothers who lost their lives to the deadly disease.
“I wanted to create something that showed my brothers’ love for this community and become a life-changing cause so others would not loose love ones so early,” Ingram-Stone said. “I wanted to make a difference by raising awareness, so I partnered with the health department. Central Georgia is the number one area in Georgia for people with cardiovascular disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.”
The second annual Lt. Col. (Ret.) Melvin T. Ingram, USMC, 5K Memorial Family Run/Walk is slated Saturday at Oak Hill Middle School. The race also honors Willie “Bill” R. Ingram Jr. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. for $25 per person. The race starts promptly at 8 a.m.
“The race is an opportunity for us to raise awareness about heart disease to the middle Georgia community. The event also helps raise scholarship funds for local students planning to pursue an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, NROTC or chemistry,” Ingram-Stone said. “The more support the race gains, the more we can help decrease chances of our community members subjecting themselves to heart disease at any age.”
The race will include informational booths, T-shirts and goodie bags for participants as well as awards for the top runners. Keith Mitchell, program manager of the Georgia Department of Public Health Cardiovascular Health Initiative Program, will share health tips as well. The event’s guest speaker, retired head coach Narleski “Chip” Malone of Warner Robins High School, will deliver an inspirational speech on his experience of undergoing a heart transplant.
“We have several sponsors this year and we really appreciate their support and believing in this cause, which we are truly dedicated to. We’re also recognizing the Marine Corps to thank them for their service and thank all past, present and retired military personnel for serving our country,” Ingram-Stone said. “We’re very passionate about this. We want to be able to educate people about heart disease and in turn save lives.”
Last year’s inaugural race included more than 140 participants, volunteers and vendors.
“Our first event was very successful. It was greatly supported by the community, and we were able to give three scholarships last year,” Ingram-Stone said. “This year we have people coming from Denver and we’re hoping to grow every year with the support of the medical community and central Georgia. “
The oldest of four children, Bill Ingram served in the Milledgeville community as a machinist at Rheem and a health services technician at Central State Hospital. He also volunteered in the community by providing transportation for Feed the Hungry of Milledgeville, for citizens during local elections and for the elderly needing to run everyday errands. He was a loving son, brother, husband and father, and a devoted contributor to the community. In 2005, Bill died of a stroke at age 48.
Melvin Ingram dedicated more than 25 years of service to the United States Marine Corps, where he held various military positions, including engineering officer, platoon commander and maintenance management and operations officer. An alumnus of Baldwin High School and Savannah State University, Melvin was a loving son and father who believed in advancing academically and professional. He died of a heart attack in 2011 at age 52 while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
“This is a very humbling experience for me; it’s a very emotional time for us, but it’s a way to pay tribute to my brothers,” Ingram-Stone said. “ It’s been a very difficult time for our family, but our faith has gotten us through. We thank everyone for supporting us with what we’re doing.”
For more information about the annual event, to register, or donate funds for the scholarship call Ingram-Stone at 360-909-1739, or visit www.meltingram.com.
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