‘Million Step March’ Picks Up Steam in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Million Step March (MSM) arrived at the Green Uptown in Charlotte, where local leaders and VIPs from the Charlotte Bobcats and Carolina Panthers joined the statewide physical activity campaign. 
 
The Million Step March is a 600-mile walking initiative to promote the benefits of physical activity from the mountains to the coast.  It kicked off in Asheville on April 1 and MSM team members haven’t stopped walking since.  The MSM team, led by BCBSNC Community Relations Vice President Kathy Higgins and MSM spokesman Gary Marino, has already walked 130 miles since kicking off the campaign. 
 
Thousands of North Carolinians have laced up their walking shoes and joined the Million Step March, both in person and online.  In the campaign’s first two weeks, Kathy and Gary have held several educational demonstrations at non-profit organizations, worksites and other public events.  Another 2000+ people have signed onto the interactive Web site BetterHealthNC.com to follow the Million Step March team as they trek across the state. 
 
“So far, the Million Step March has taken us from Asheville and down through the mountains to Charlotte,” said Higgins. “As we continue on our walk to Wilmington, we hope to inspire North Carolinians to realize that anyone can start a healthy habit, one step at a time.”
 
“I have met dozens of people along the way and heard so many moving personal stories,” added Marino.   “Like me, many of those folks struggle with weight and related health issues. But they know that by building 30 minutes of walking into their daily routine, they can live longer, healthier and happier lives." 
 
The 10-week campaign ends in Wilmington in mid-June.  Along the way, the Million Step March team will host dozens of demonstrations and events at schools, community groups, worksites and other locations.  Following various physical activity and healthy eating demonstrations today, the MSM team led attendees on a short walk around the Green, flanked by Rufus Lynx and members of the Bobcats LadyCats Dance Team and Charlotte Panthers President Mark Richardson.
 
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an asset to this community, and we’re extremely proud to partner with a company so committed to helping people improve their health,” said Bobcats Sports & Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer, Fred Whitfield.  “Wellness is one of the pillars on which our community outreach is built, and participating in events like the Million Step March helps us promote the value of leading a healthy lifestyle.”
 
The MSM has prompted North Carolinians to get moving in their communities and workplaces. More than 68 million steps have been logged by visitors to BetterHealthNC.com.  On the website, participants report their daily physical activity and can win prizes as part of the Million Step Challenge, follow the MSM team’s progress walking across the state and more.  They also have the opportunity to determine which North Carolina nonprofit organization will receive a $75,000 contribution from BCBSNC to promote physical activity.
 
Join in the March! Visit BetterHealthNC.com for tips on how to make physical activity part of your routine and to share your story with North Carolinians who want to improve their overall health.

The Million Step March is coming to a city near you:
• Winston-Salem
• Greensboro
• Raleigh 
• Greenville
• Fayetteville
• Wilmington
 

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to nearly 3.6 million members, including approximately 825,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 75 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
 
About Million Step March:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is stepping up its commitment to physical activity with its Million Step March. This new statewide wellness initiative focuses on promoting the benefits of simple, yet effective forms of physical activity like walking. The March begins in Asheville and ends in Wilmington.   It also includes an interactive web site which provides North Carolinians with opportunities to join the March online, and shows them how to make good health a habit, one step at a time. To step it up, visit BetterHealthNC.com.
 
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