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Snowshoeing to raise awareness of heart disease

When Pat Hallgren was about to turn 60, she decided to do something that would make a difference and remember her mother, who died of a heart attack at age 60.

Instead of having a birthday party where friends brought her presents, Hallgren decided to get a bunch of people together and go snowshoeing. She and her friends gathered donations to be sent to the “Go Red for Women” campaign and the American Heart Association.

Her friends enjoyed the event so much, they told her she had to continue it.

Now about to turn 68, Hallgren is continuing her fundraising tradition Thursday, Jan. 16.

“We were a little nervous this year because of the lack of snow,” Hallgren said. “But it’s looking like it’s going to work out.”

The event starts at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with a brunch and talk from the American Heart Association at Mount Hood Museum in Government Camp. Following the presentation, those who would like to are encouraged to join Hallgren for a snowshoe walk down to Trillium Lake and back.

Companies that have donated to the event include Cool Printing and Copies in Sandy, Busy Bee Catering and the Resort at the Mountain in Welches, and Summit Meadows Cabins in Government Camp.

“If it wasn’t for my friends helping out, it wouldn’t happen,” Hallgren said.

Hallgren said the event has been growing with each year — this year she expects 35 to 40 people to attend the brunch. Usually slightly fewer people join the snowshoeing adventure. Last year, 28 women grabbed their snowshoes and headed to Trillium.

The event is helping to introduce a new way to stay active in winter, Hallgren said, while still raising awareness about heart disease in women.

“You don’t have to be an extreme athlete to participate, you just have to be able to walk,” she said.