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Diary of a Heart Month volunteer

Foundation canvasser Rich Mingus takes us along on his route — including the highs, the lows and the rude doormats.

Every February, more than 77,000 Heart and Stroke Foundation volunteers from coast to coast fan out across their communities to canvass for donations to support life-saving research.

What’s it like? Follow in the determined footsteps of Rich Mingus of Delta, BC, through his diary from last year’s Heart Month campaign. (The photos suggest that Rich may not face the same snowy challenges as his fellow canvassers in other parts of the country.)

As a team captain, Rich leads a group of 10 canvassers in Delta who are knocking on doors and fundraising online. Together they aim to raise $4,500 this year.

 

Day 1:
I’m ready to go and the sun is shining!  On my first day out, I lost two volunteer badges. I ended up borrowing one from another canvasser, and clipped it to the inside of my kit. Still visible, but not so flimsy.

Day 2:
I met a fellow who is a heart disease survivor like me. He donates by mail to the Foundation every year.  We spent a good 30 minutes sharing stories about our life-saving procedures made possible by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

This door mat had me laughing so hard, I had to come back another day to get a photo. Still no answer.  Imagine that!

Day 5:
It’s Saturday. I canvassed for two hours and raised $35. Discouraging — until I realized I was meeting a lot of interesting folks while having a brisk walk for heart health, with each step taking me closer to the next donation. And a bonus: I met a woman who agreed to join our canvassing team next year!

Day 6:
Today, I brought my secret weapon, Hana. I introduced her as the granddaughter I would never have met without my life-saving procedure 10 years ago. In 90 minutes, we raised $200!

Full disclosure: My house was on the route, and when I asked myself for a contribution, I was generous. Most canvassers end up making a donation; it’s a cause we all clearly believe in.

Day 8:
Another sign I loved. My 11-year-old grandson loved it too — he knows the kids!

 

Day 11:
I also canvass online. This is the picture I put on my e-mail requests to friends and family.

The online option is handy for some of the people I meet when knocking on doors. At one house, for example, the owner didn’t have any cash on him. I showed him how to donate online. I came home to a $75 donation from him on my HQ page.

Day 12:
At this house, I asked to speak to the beautiful person and the lady replied, “That would be me.”

At another door, a man came out and yelled, “Get out of here you dumb ass!” I quickly turned to leave and he said, “Not you, it’s that stupid dog that keeps trying to get into my house.”

Day 14:
Hana and I made one last visit to the homes where no one answered earlier and we raised another $80. We have had a wonderful time!

 

And finally, here’s a picture of me hiking in the Cavell Meadows of Jasper National Park this past summer. This is something I could certainly not have done without treatments developed by Heart and Stroke Foundation researchers.

That’s why I will keep on canvassing, and why donations from people like you are so important.