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Connie Jones’ lifestyle changes led her to the American Heart Association

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Photo: Jenny Shalifoe and Connie Jones being awarded a Lifestyle Change Award in 2008

Photo: Jenny Shalifoe and Connie Jones being awarded a Lifestyle Change Award in 2008

Connie Jones of Grand Rapids is fun-loving and supporting of anyone who asks for her help in their health journey. She is motivated now to stay healthy though she wasn’t always that way. When she was 47 years old, she weighed 400 pounds and realized she had to do something, for that was the age her father was when he died of a stroke. Her first step was to begin exercising, which she did by walking around the block even though it was painful for her. She persisted and slowly increased her time and distance to three miles, six days a week. To that she eventually added pilates on Tuesdays and cardio-salsa and cardio-aerobics twice a week. 

When she had lost 163 pounds, Connie unexpectedly suffered a stroke. After some time, she transferred to Mary Free Bed for ongoing treatment and aggressive physical therapy. While she still does have mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks), she continues with her fitness regime and with learning about the importance of good health and nutrition. If you stop by her home today, you just might see her small vintage Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that she is using for motivation!

Jones was awarded with a Lifestyle Change Award at the Start! Heart Walk in 2008 and will be one of many survivors honored at the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk.  The event is scheduled for Sept. 19, at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. It will raise funds to support heart disease, stroke research and area educational programs. 

Lifestyle change awards, sponsored by Herman Miller, will be given to those who have made significant lifestyle changes.  Festival grounds for Start! Heart Walk open at 8:30 a.m. at Riverside Park near Monroe and Three Mile roads, with the walking path along the Grand River. Sponsored nationally by Subway, Healthy Choice and AstraZeneca, the media sponsors are the Advance Newspapers, MLive, Star 105.7 and WOOD TV8. Ice Mountain is the Eat Street Water sponsor. To register or for more information, call (616) 482-1502 or visit


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