ROAR Alumni Award

Heather McAlinn Receives ROAR Alumni Award
Posted on 06/18/2024
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Bristol Township School District and Bristol Cares are honored to congratulate Heather McAlinn, Class of 1993, for being this year’s recipient of the ROAR Alumni Award. McAlinn received her award at the Seniors Honor Night on June 10 at Harry S. Truman High School. The award was presented by Damita Harvey, community organizer of Bristol Cares, and Nicholas Emeigh, last year’s award recipient and associate executive director of NAMI Bucks County. 

“In my speech, I talked about being grateful for what you have in this moment. This mindset leads to future success.” said McAlinn. “Teach the voice in your head to think positively. It is crucial to maintain a healthy mindset when you are facing obstacles in life.”

In its second year, this award is an annual initiative in partnership with Bristol Cares and BTSD with a goal to increase belonging and celebrate community pride. The ROAR Alumni Award is granted to a Bristol Township graduate who has displayed distinguished accomplishments in one of the following categories: Community Impact, Volunteer Service, Humanitarian Efforts or Business/Professional Achievement.

McAlinn is being recognized for Community Impact for all of the work she does in the community and fundraising efforts for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) advocacy.

Heather headshotMcAlinn, nicknamed “Walshy” in high school, graduated from Truman in 1993. She obtained an associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Temple University, Cum Laude.

Looking at her journey as a tree, McAlinn says Bristol Township is her roots. She grew up there, and attended elementary, middle and high school there.

“To the Bristol Township community, I will never forget my roots,” she said. “I’m very proud of my strong foundation and extremely grateful. I have an attitude of gratitude, always.”

McAlinn works in publishing operations at The Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers. She’s also been instructing kickboxing for 11 years and currently teaches at Amerikick Martial Arts.

In the summer of 2017, McAlinn was diagnosed with MS, a disease that affects the Central Nervous System. Her doctor told her that remaining active can help with symptoms. An avid endurance runner and triathlete, McAlinn signed up for an Ironman Triathlon with her doctor’s approval and raised money for the National Stem Cell Foundation.

“When you want to give up during a race or are getting tired, there has to be something to keep you going. For me, I put the meaning behind the miles. I pick a cause and raise money for it while I’m training,” she said.

McAlinn’s accomplishments include the completion of two Full Ironman Triathlons which consist of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, for a total of 140.6 miles. In addition, she completed three marathons and one Ultra Marathon.

To bring awareness to MS, McAlinn participated in Bike MS City to Shore, riding 175 miles from Philly to Ocean City, NJ. She was awarded a top fundraiser plaque from the MS society. McAlinn was also awarded a new road bike for this event from a Dallas, Texas based non-profit named Meat Fight Inc. They are dedicated to helping people with MS do epic stuff.  

In addition to raising money for MS, she has fundraised for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer and the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, among many others.

McAlinn holds a Certification in Public Speaking for Effective Coaching from Toastmasters International. She served as club president for this organization during 2023. She began motivational speaking this year and her platform is mental mindset.

“It was worthwhile for me to shift my mindset from I have to do something to I get to do something,” said McAlinn. “Shifting my mindset has created positive abundance in my life.”

For anyone interested in booking Heather McAlinn as a motivational speaker, she can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Instagram at heather_kickstart_fitness. Listen to McAlinn on the “You Are Enough” podcast and in her chat about hope on Katie Moran’s YouTube.

If you would like to nominate a Bristol Township Alumni for consideration for a future award, to email [email protected].

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