Program Participants Re-connecting to Trail-Blaze a Path to Health and Wellness

(BROOKLYN) – In 2012, the Northeast District Department Health and its HealthQuest Northeast Connecticut public health coalition launched Follow the Fifty: Models of Heart Health (FTF), a women’s heart health campaign that transformed the lives of program participants and rose to national prominence. This month they will reconvene former models, coaches, and community partners of the successful initiative for a 10-year anniversary “ReZOOMion,” a virtual online event meant to reconnect and re-inspire those to keep up their healthy lifestyles or take them up once again.

“A lot has happened in the past 10 years from personal triumphs and tragedies to a worldwide pandemic and now sadly, war in Ukraine,” said Linda Colangelo, former program manager of the FTF initiative. “These past couple of years have impacted all aspects of health on global, community, and profoundly personal levels. We know that the simple effort of reconnecting people to each other and happier, healthier times will be good for their hearts in so many ways.”

he ReZOOMion will include an FTF trip down memory lane and will connect participants to a current HealthQuest initiative called ConNECTicuTRAILS, a campaign aimed to encourage people to explore over 500 miles of trails throughout The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. Participants will learn about the new CT Trail Finder website,, an initiative by the UCONN extension center; the Last Green Valley Spring Outdoors event; other opportunities for physical activity; and will get motivated to move with Monique Wolanin, Race Director for the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation Tackle the Trail event.

A 2012 Follow the Fifty Walk on the Putnam Rivertrail

A Follow the Fifty Model Steps Out

“One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to reduce risk factors for heart disease and other chronic illnesses is to walk your way to wellness,” said Colangelo. “It starts by putting one foot in front of the other. We want this movement to grow organically and let the FTF sisterhood again step out as trailblazing role models of heart health.”

Eastern Connecticut State University senior and NDDH intern Madalyn Lowell is assisting with the campaign. “I actually learned about Follow the Fifty a few years ago when a presentation was given at one of my classes at school and then we took a field trip to the NDDH office,” explained Lowell. “That experience stuck with me and was one of the things that inspired me to pursue a career in public health. It’s amazing to see the process of how health education and program implementation leads to inspiration and healthier lifestyles.”

HealthQuest partners have several physical activity events planned throughout the year which are open to the public. “We hope that a strong showing of former Follow the Fifty participants at these events will inspire other community members to become role models of heart health for their own families and friends,” said Lowell.

If you were a former model, coach, or community partner of the 2012 Follow the Fifty campaign and would like to join either session of the ReZOOMion on March 29th or 31st from 6 to 8pm, send an email to To learn more, visit and click on the HealthQuest icon.

The Endless Flow of Follow the Fifty