“We have a critical problem in America, which is the under-appreciation of peripheral arterial disease [PAD],” says Vikram Kashyap, MD, on his first time participating in the SVS Foundation’s Vascular Health Step Challenge, which concluded in September.
Kashyap, a member of the SVS Foundation board of directors, was one of more than 500 individuals globally who came together in September for a month-long initiative to promote vascular health and raise awareness and funds for the Foundation’s mission. The annual SVS Foundation challenge concluded with participants walking a collective 44,000 miles and raising $100,000.
It corresponded with National PAD Awareness Month, aiming to help encourage individuals to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Participants pledged to walk 60 miles throughout the month, symbolizing the 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body.
Kashyap notes that this symbolic journey aimed to underscore the importance of maintaining a healthy vascular system and emphasizes the critical role vascular surgeons play in keeping those systems in optimal condition. “I think this is the first step,” he says. “No pun intended. I hope we can use this momentum and continue to grow in the years ahead.”
This year’s challenge introduced the “Pay-it-Forward” initiative, asking registrants to help ensure patient participation in the challenge. More than 70 Pay-it-Forward donations were received.
The Step Challenge also garnered sponsorship support, with a 77% increase compared to the previous year. Sponsors included organizations in the medical and healthcare industry, including presenting sponsor Advanced Oxygen Therapy, Inc.; W. L. Gore & Associates; Medtronic; 3M; the Way to My Heart organization; and the Society for Vascular Nursing.
As part of his efforts, Kashyap visited several walking destinations throughout September, including his new hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Traverse City, Michigan; Los Angeles; Central Park in New York City; and Columbus, Ohio.
He emphasized that the challenge does not require an “all-or-nothing” mentality. The Foundation aims to use monies raised to provide necessary treatments and improve the quality of life for those in need, while also driving innovations in vascular care.