Toronto – Almost seven decades after its inception and hundreds of millions of dollars raised, Heart & Stroke’s seminal Heart Month fundraiser, the door-to-door Canvass, is now knocking on virtual doors.
“The Heart Month Canvass has been the cornerstone of Heart & Stroke since 1952 when a group of cardiologists and their families braved the cold to ask neighbours for donations to support heart research,” said Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “For nearly 70 years, dedicated volunteers in communities large and small across Canada have continued this tradition and now the Canvass has gone completely virtual to meet today’s needs.”
Pivoting in-person fundraising events to go online and enhancing the digital experience is only one of the ways Heart & Stroke has responded to the challenging environment. “For years we have focused on innovating to fund our mission, and in this climate it’s more critical than ever to look for new ways to collaborate and create partnerships to accelerate change,” Roth adds.
Heart & Stroke just announced a new partnership with Brain Canada* in the form of a $6 million Heart-Brain Connection IMPACT Award, to study the deep connections between the heart and the brain. And in November, it released positive results from Activate, a pilot high-blood pressure program made possible with the support of private investors, government, and community partners. This year it is also working with the World Heart Federation and other Canadian health partners to address and lessen the burden of heart failure, which affects more than 600,000 people in Canada.
Heart disease and stroke have not gone away during the pandemic. And alarmingly, not only is the virus much deadlier for people with chronic conditions, COVID-19 can also damage previously healthy hearts and have serious impacts on the brain. This Heart Month, Roth wants people to look after themselves and their heart and vascular health, and for supporters to know that funding research breakthroughs is more urgent than ever.
People like Donna Hart and Barry Tsuruda, married 36 years, have more reasons than most to be thankful for research advances. In 2015, Donna’s heart began to fail rapidly after she was diagnosed with giant cell myocarditis, a disease of the heart. The avid cyclist needed a transplant to survive. At the same time, across town, Barry had just been admitted to a different hospital with chest pain. He was having a heart attack and was in intensive care and required stent surgery.
“What are the chances of a husband and wife, both very active people in their 50s, being in hospital the very same week with life-threatening heart conditions?” says Donna. “I got a new heart, something that brings on a wide range of complex emotions, and it’s been hard, but I feel good today. The reality is neither Barry nor I would be here today if it wasn’t for breakthroughs in research,” she adds. “I actually showed my doctor Barry’s heart pictures and he said twenty years earlier he would have just been told to just go home and be comfortable. Instead, today he’s back riding with his cycling club and I can swim again.”
To see research that Heart & Stroke is funding to treat conditions like Donna Hart’s please click here. To see the 2019 Heart & Stroke report on the heart and brain connection click here.
To volunteer as a fundraiser or to donate to the 2021 Heart Month Heart & Stroke Virtual Canvass please click here.
About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.
Recently, Heart & Stroke released a new creative concept, Beat as One, to unite people in Canada as a community against the myriad of issues surrounding heart disease and stroke. Learn more and join us to beat heart disease and stroke.
For more information and to book an interview with a Heart & Stroke spokesperson please contact:
Sr. Manager, Communications
*Funding for the Heart-Brain Connection IMPACT Award has been made possible with the financial support of Health Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada, and Heart & Stroke.