Aaron Wong, future MBA
How he makes a difference: Helping people reduce their risk of high blood pressure by volunteering with our Activate wellness program, taking blood pressure readings and recruiting participants.
Why Heart & Stroke? Aaron is following his family’s lead in taking heart health seriously, since his father had an angina scare a few years ago. Both his parents take medication for high blood pressure, and the whole family makes it a priority to eat well. Now Aaron is paying it forward by helping other people reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke.
"I love the opportunity to introduce people to blood pressure and offer them a free blood pressure measurement. I can clearly see their gratitude when they find out that they’re either in a healthy range or need to consider making changes in their lifestyle."
Dr. Alphonse Montminy, physician specializing in emergency medicine
How he makes a difference: Teaching life-saving CPR; helping to develop Heart & Stroke resuscitation and first aid program
Why Heart & Stroke? Alphonse has dedicated his career to saving lives. For him it made sense to contribute his knowledge to our resuscitation program, which last year trained more than 574,000 people in life-saving skills, including healthcare professionals and ordinary Canadians. Alphonse values the scientific rigour Heart & Stroke brings to its prevention programs and resuscitation training.
"I feel privileged to participate in this beautiful mission to minimize the impact of cardiovascular disease on people in Canada. And the calibre of the people I’ve worked with at Heart & Stroke is outstanding."
Kate Goodhand, mother of two living with heart disease
How she makes a difference: Canvassing during our Heart Month fundraising drive; helping raise awareness of heart disease, particularly for women
Why Heart & Stroke? Kate was diagnosed with congenital heart disease in her teens but lived a more or less normal life until she was 35. Suddenly she began feeling tired and breathless doing light activities. She needed emergency surgery on her aortic valve. After recovering, Kate wanted to give back by raising funds for Heart & Stroke. This year she raised more than $500, earning the Gold Heart Canvasser designation. She has also spoken about her experience at several events, and participates in online groups for women with heart disease.
"Heart & Stroke is a cause that I am passionate about since being diagnosed with congenital heart disease and undergoing an open-heart procedure. I like knowing that the time I invest could truly impact someone else’s life. Volunteering allows me to share my story of hope, healing and recovery."
Luis M. Rivas, facilitator, patient advisor
Why Heart & Stroke? After he had a stroke in 2011, Luis experienced an “aha” moment in a Heart & Stroke program led by a fellow stroke survivor; he realized he was ready to embrace his new reality instead of denying it. With the group’s support he started looking forward to making healthy changes. And he was inspired to become a leader himself, facilitating the six-week program several times in Montreal.
"I love the feeling of somehow giving back the energy and support I received when I needed it. My goal is to help other survivors to discover the value of having a second chance in life and get the most out of it."
Dr. Jim Christenson, resuscitation research leader
How he makes a difference: Leading large resuscitation research collaborations in North America and Canada that have improved survival rates; teaching advanced cardiac life support (CPR); helping to guide the Heart & Stroke resuscitation program as chair of the Resuscitation Advisory Committee.
Why Heart & Stroke? Jim’s passion for reducing the toll of heart disease dates from childhood; he was only seven when he lost his father to aortic valve failure. As a researcher he has spent 30 years working to increase survival rates from cardiac emergencies. He values Heart & Stroke’s commitment to saving lives, and supports it by contributing his expert knowledge in many areas.
"Volunteering with Heart & Stroke gives me a place to offer my specific knowledge and broad support. I feel that I have contributed to the mission but also that I have learned so much. I have made great friends and get to see how the leadership and staff are so committed to resuscitation impact."
Raman Kapoor, registered dietitian, health activist
How she makes a difference: Sharing her professional expertise and lived experience on our structural heart disease council; raising awareness of cardiovascular risks, especially among South Asian women. Raman also co-founded the DIL Walk Foundation, a Calgary charity focusing on chronic disease management and prevention.
Why Heart & Stroke? As a health professional who has lived with a heart condition, Raman is passionate about the power of prevention and education. Over more than 20 years of volunteering, she has found that Heart & Stroke aligns with her belief in evidence based, local solutions that help people live healthier lives — especially ethnic minorities, vulnerable populations, and women and children.
"Volunteering with Heart & Stroke, I feel I have made a difference. This is very powerful and important to me. It means to never give up, as I find that I learn something from every person I meet, every story I hear."