Vince Sheehy says that during the current COVID-19 pandemic, staying well through heart-healthy diets and exercise is more important than ever.

“Our partnership with the American Heart Association enables them to continue their great work and community support,” said Sheehy, who is president of Sheehy Auto Stores, in a news release.

Regarding that partnership, Sheehy Auto Stores said on Friday it raised $250,500 to benefit the American Heart Association as part of its annual Sheehy 8000 Sales Race. This is the 23rd annual Sheehy 8000.

The company describes that event as a community-wide effort to raise funds and awareness for the charity. The event ran July 17 to Sept. 8.

Sheehy, which says it is the 37th largest dealer group in the country, noted that its Sheehy 8000 is its biggest annual sales event and fundraising partnership.

In lieu of in-person “Lunch and Learns” for Sheehy Auto Stores’ back office staff, the American Heart Association and Sheehy facilitated a virtual event with more than 100 attendees from dealerships in Annapolis, Ashland, Springfield and Waldorf.

Dr. Roquell Wyche, a cardiologist with Chesapeake and Washington Heart Care, was among the speakers, along with heart patient, Kaelyn Graham, 16, and her mother, who shared their story.

Sheehy’s 29 dealerships also participated in a pedometer challenge. Through that event, the dealerships collectively recorded 763,548 steps. That surpassed last year’s count of 656,006 steps. Sheehy INFINITI of Chantilly won the challenge with 115,854 steps. 

In addition, employees selected heart-healthy activities and habits from the American Heart Association Game Board. Those included workouts and dietary and sleep adjustments.

Sheehy’s fundraising efforts have raised more than $40 million to date for community and non-profit organizations.

The company has raised more than $1.7 million for the American Heart Association.

“All of us at the American Heart Association are grateful for Sheehy's unwavering loyalty during these unprecedented times. COVID-19 disproportionately affects heart and stroke patients, making their support more important and life-saving than ever,” said American Heart Association executive director Soula Antoniou.

Antoniou added, “The Sheehy 8000 is a phenomenal sales race and truly a team effort. The commitment of Sheehy’s employees, vendors and customers can be seen in funds raised and the lives impacted — in Sheehy dealerships and in our communities. With more than $1.7 million raised to date, this campaign has made much of our work around blood pressure management, healthy food access, and CPR training possible.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”