SVS Foundation step challenge helps place lens on ‘under-appreciation’ of country’s PAD problem

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Vikram Kashyap hits the trails during the Step Challenge

“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.

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