By Lynn A. Wade
Nevada Daily Mail
After months of research and preparation, the Healthy Nevada project is officially launching with a kick-off event at Walton Park, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, at Izaak Walton Park. Many activities are planned -- and it's nearly all free to participants.
Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf and a couple of the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders are coming to Nevada for the big event, which will feature a march around Walton Lake led by KC Wolf, according to Nevada Parks and Recreation Director Dana Redburn.
"We're all (organizers and participants) going to meet at the the upper shelter house," Redburn said, and the walk will begin after a few opening remarks by Nevada Mayor Brian Leonard.
Redburn said the walk will be just under a half mile. "It's not really a long walk," she said, and at the end of that walk, participants will be asked to sign a giant canvas signifying their pledges to make healthier choices.
"We're not asking people to make a big, dramatic change on the spot; we're asking them to stop and think, and to make better choices," like choosing to walk a few more steps, or making healthier food choices, Redburn said.
There'll be plenty of opportunities for people to find out more about their personal health and about options available to help them make those healthier choices, and lots of fun activities.
Simple health screenings like blood pressure checks and body mass index evaluations will be available, as will information about programs and activities from the Osage Prairie YMCA, the community center, and Nevada Regional Medical Center. Inflatables and bounce houses will be in place for the event, and games and face painting also are planned. Redburn said T-shirts also will be given to participants.
The only thing that's not free is lunch -- grilled turkey burgers will be sold to benefit a local cause.
Redburn urges everyone to participate and send the message that the community's committed to a healthier future.
"It'll be fun," she said. "We've been looking forward to it."
The Healthy Nevada Project is a community-wide effort announced in July, and is essentially a web of partnerships and projects aimed at increasing the health of the area's residents by introducing, enhancing and developing healthier lifestyle options and increasing the cultural focus on good health. All sorts of area groups, businesses and organizations are involved; and central to the web is Cerner Corp., a Kansas-City based firm working with local folks toward that goal.
Cerner program coordinator Katie Cox said, "We are very excited for a number of reasons," not the least of which is that "we want to do something for the community to try to give back to them."
Cox said the event is meant to raise awareness of the Healthy Nevada project, and to encourage people to be more accountable for their own health through the pledge.
"A lot of people don't know that we're here ... and we can only do so much in terms of having programs and events" -- people must make their own conscious decisions to live healthier lifestyles.
"We just want anyone and everyone to come out, learn about health and have fun. I hear the weather's supposed to be wonderful," on Saturday, Cox said.
Cox also noted that the community can expect more programs and events in the future, but those are still in the planning stages.
A new Web site, healthynevada.net, was launched this week. Visitors to the site can find information about Cerner, view a blog, sign up for newsletter and more.