Knollwood community in Towson kicks off 5K sign-ups with series of videos on heart health

Though the Towson Healthy Hearts 5K isn’t until June 9, organizers of the health-focused neighborhood race have kicked off sign-ups with a series of videos meant to encourage the Towson community to get healthy.

The skits, posted to the neighborhood association’s Facebook page, feature a mock talk show called Heart Talk where Dr. Stat, played by Knollwood Association president Dave Riley, and race mascot Mr. Fancy Happy Heart talk to special guests about what viewers can do to live healthier lives.

Riley said residents of the neighborhood are working together to promote the race but also to advocate for heart health, which is an objective of the community association.

The Knollwood community sponsors the Towson Healthy Hearts 5K and its post-race farmers market as part of its efforts to raise awareness for healthy lifestyles.

Net proceeds from the event are donated to the American Heart Association, and last year’s inaugural race led to a donation of more than $4,000, according to organizers.

“We’re trying to get the word out but also make people laugh,” Riley said. “Laughter is the greatest thing to reduce stress. If you can laugh about something that’s foolish and juvenile, it makes it fun.”

The video series, which was filmed in Riley’s basement in Knollwood, shares tips on what to eat to ensure heart health.

In one video, Dr. Stat brings a character named Bacon onto the show. After introductions, Mr. Fancy Happy Heart blames Bacon for a relative’s death, and the two get into a scuffle.

In another, Knollwood resident Stephanie Parry dressed as Chinese Carryout shares tips on how to enjoy Chinese food during Chinese New Year in a healthier way, advising viewers to cut the salt, MSG and meat, swap steamed rice for fried and eat lots of vegetables.

Future episodes will feature Chili Pepper and Salt Shaker, also played by Knollwood residents.

The videos are not the only way the neighbors are trying to bring attention to their cause.

On Wednesday, Mr. Fancy Happy Heart visited Towson University’s wellness center, the Towson Chamber of Commerce and St. Joseph Medical Center’s health fair to talk about being heart healthy.

Riley said he realizes the skits are what he calls “eighth-grade humor” but that residents are going for a “fun way to talk about heart health.”

“The elements of good heart health are diet, exercise and reducing stress,” Riley said. “One of the ways to do that is keep a sense of humor.”

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