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Philadelphians get a chance to swing for the fences at the Richie Ashburn Memorial Home Runs for Heart event

The American Heart Association's 16th annual derby contest poised to take a swing at heart disease and stroke

PHILADELPHIA - April 15, 2013 - Baseball fans from the Delaware Valley and beyond will have the opportunity to take swings from home plate at the 16th Annual Richie Ashburn Memorial Home Runs for Heart on May 6 and 7 (8:00a-4:30p), making them the first amateur sluggers to take a spot on the soil of since last season. The American Heart Association event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Held annually at Citizen's Bank Park, Home Runs for Heart is a derby contest (batting only) that enables participants to step up to home plate and swing for the fences. After batting and catching fly balls in the outfield or "shagging," participants can visit the Phils' Club House, take a tour of the facility, pose for pictures with the Phillies Ball Girls and meet the Phillies Phanatic. In addition, the team, individual man and individual woman with the most home runs and the most points (based on distance) will receive prizes and special recognition.

"This event is always a lot of fun," said Tom Vecchio of Connell Foley LLP, chair of the 2013 event. "It gets people outside for fresh air and they get exercise while they're trying to catch fly balls in the outfield. This movement contributes to the 30 minutes a day of activity that people should be allowing themselves. It's also a time when we get to remember two men who were very special to the Phillies and very special to the fans as well."

For more information or to register, call 215-575-5218 or visit and click on Home Runs For Heart.

Proceeds from Home Runs for Heart benefit the local research and community education efforts of the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Sponsors of this year's event include: Philadelphia Phillies, Bravo Health, Block Vision, Comcast SportsNet and CBS Radio (locally) and Subway and Jenny Craig (nationally).

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