News release: Jump Rope for Heart is jumping into a virtual event with both feet

The goal is to have 100,000 kids helping kids and learning healthy habits at home

(Toronto) — In the spirit of keeping families healthy and safe, Jump Rope for Heart is moving 100% online. Families from across Canada are invited to take a leap and join Heart & Stroke’s first-ever #VirtualJump event day on Friday, June 19. The livestream event will be hosted by 20-times Paralympic medalist and member of the Order of Canada, swimmer Benoit Huot.

“The new Virtual Jump is not only about fundraising, but also about learning the importance of being active at home and practicing other healthy habits to take care of ourselves and each other,” says Kari Flannery, National Director, Community Engagement, at Heart & Stroke. “We’re inviting everyone to jump with us on June 19, at 1 p.m.. When kids and parents get active, the whole family benefits!”

One of the kids participating in this year’s #VirtualJump is 10-year-old Nolen, who had a prenatal stroke. “Nolen is our miracle boy and a fantastic example of the neuroplasticity of a baby’s brain,” says Laura Lenz, Nolen’s mother. “Nolen’s right side will always be weaker than his left, but he is learning his very special ways to do things, and it’s been amazing to watch. Participating in Virtual Jump to support Heart & Stroke is our way of saying thank you.”

Supporting kids’ health for almost 40 years, Jump Rope for Heart encourages kids to get active by skipping rope while collecting pledges for life-saving heart disease and stroke research breakthroughs and education programs. Virtual Jump continues the tradition by encouraging kids and parents to be active and to learn healthy habits, but, this time, in the comfort of their home. While Jump may look different this year, the June 19 livestream will feature the same celebratory moments, music, physical activity, and other fun surprises.

Event details

What: Register and join the #VirtualJump event at

When: Friday, June 19, 2020. Livestream begins at 12:50 p.m. ET, with programming beginning at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Online at

Who: Registration for #VirtualJump is open to every school and family across the country

All Heart & Stroke offices are closed as we seek to protect everyone’s health during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are still working virtually, remaining active and committed to our communities. Essential services like our call centres, website and online communities continue.


Interviews are available with Benoit Huot before the event.

  • Benoit Huot (Montreal, QC) Benoit was born with a disability in his right leg known as clubfoot. He started swimming at 8 years old and became, in the last two decades, one of Canada's most decorated Paralympic athletes with 20 medals in five Paralympic Games. Benoit will be hosting our first-ever #VirtualJump on June 19.

Interviews are also possible with #VirtualJump families with personal lived experiences with heart disease and stroke, including:

  • Jamie Giddings (Edmonton, AB) had extensive heart surgery at 6 weeks old. The 9-year-old is now doing very well. He is being treated for hypertension and is seen by a pediatric cardiologist a few times a year.
  • Nolen Hicks (Toronto, ON) had a prenatal stroke. Today, 10year-old Nolen loves to play basketball, dazzle us with his quick match skills and ride his adapted bike. His mother, Laura, loves to watch him partake in simple activities that she never thought would be possible, like singing in a choir or reading a book.
  • Zoe Little (Kingston, ON) has already undergone three open-heart surgeries. Every day, she requires monitoring to ensure her heart is functioning properly and often wears a device to monitor the electrical activity of her heart both awake and asleep. This little dynamo is a beautiful ball of energy who has overcome so many obstacles in her short lifetime.
For more information

Joshua Terry
Communications Advisor, Ontario
Heart & Stroke
416-489-7111, ext. 24806 / 647-444-4391 (mobile)

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 people in Canada 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.