With various groups playing, the first annual Neosho’s Music Fest – hosted by Neosho Walgreens and Neosho R-5 School District – was held Saturday at the Bob Anderson Stadium.

Proceeds benefited the American Heart Association and the event included food, various vendors and silent auction items.

There were also a couple of speakers during the event, one of whom was Jayme Harper, mother of Lauren Harper, 2, of Joplin.

“She had three heart surgeries before she was six months old,” said Jayme of her daughter, who is one of three triplets. “We spent a lot of time at Children’s Mercy. She has a pacemaker as well, and she has one functioning kidney, so she is going to most likely have high blood pressure whenever she is older, which is going to cause issues to her heart. So, we are in it for a lifetime.”

Jayme told the audience the importance of heart issues.

“You could just wake up and it happen to you, because that basically is what happened to us,” Jayme said.

She also mentioned the passage of Chloe’s Law, which she said will be a huge benefit.

“Because that is a heart test that is required within the first 48 hours of a newborn’s life and that is going to help detect heart defects early on,” Jayme said. “Basically, it is a test that touches your upper and lower extremities with no needles, so it is going to check your pressures at both ends to make sure there is not any kind of heart issue.”

Jayme said fundraisers such as Neosho’s Music Fest were very important to the heart association.

“It is going to help us spread awareness especially in the pediatrics, which you don’t hear a ton about, so that is our main goal,” she said.

David Russell, local chairman of the Four States Heart Walk committee and vice president of SMB, told about the upcoming heart walk, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, at MSSU in Joplin. The walk begins at 10 a.m.

“We encourage people to form teams, whether teams of people they work with, friends, relatives, or neighbors. Do some fundraising and then come out that day,” he said.

Russell said last year, the heart walk raised $27,000.

“And our official goal this year is $33,000, but as a committee, we have talked about it and we believe we can raise $50,000,” he said. “Things are going pretty well, we have had a number of corporate sponsors come on board.”

Russell told the crowd cardiovascular disease was the No. 1 killer of men and women.