Sunday, April 28, 2013

Riding for heart

Last year was a tough year.

On February 14, Ryan's grandmother passed away after suffering from a heart attack two months earlier. She was 82. On  April 2, my great-aunt Joan passed away after suffering a massive stroke less than a week earlier. She too was 82 years old. On October 6, my dad had a heart attack. He was 65 years old and until then had been in nearly perfect health. He is (thankfully) on the road to making a full recovery.

While I'm on the topic, more than 40 years ago, my grandfather -- my father's father -- died of a massive heart attack. He was in his early 60s. And because of that, I never got the chance to meet him. 

Now that I've thoroughly depressed you with my own story, let's look at the facts. Every seven minutes someone dies from heart disease and stroke in Canada. Heart disease and stroke takes 1 in 3 Canadians before their time and is the number one killer of women. Nine out of 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.

On June 2, my husband Ryan will be biking 50 km up and back down the DVP in Toronto in the Ride For Heart to raise money for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. If I was a biker, I'd raise money for Heart & Stroke by doing this ride. But I'm not a biker -- so I'll stick to being the rah-rah fundraising supporter. Funds raised by this ride support research, healthy communities, healthy children and youth, and awareness and prevention. Every dollar makes a difference.

He's training hard already -- 50 km is not exactly a short, leisurely ride -- so visit his fundraising page and support his Ride for Heart. On the day of the ride, the kids and I will find a spot somewhere along the route to cheer him on. I'll try to get a picture or two. 

While I'm on the subject of heart health -- it doesn't just start with funding research to save lives (although that research certainly helped save my dad's life). It starts years and years before; by educating our children about the importance of eating well and being active. Alexandra is also getting in on the heart health campaign as her school is doing Jump Rope for Heart on May 9. Although at age 5 she won't exactly be skipping all that much, I'm glad that her and the school is taking part. Although my kids are very active and healthy, so many kids today aren't. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, affecting the future health of our children. If you'd like to support her, call or e-mail me. 

1 comment:

Bill Gardner said...

What a wonderfully tender and heart warming article. Thanks for writing it Deb. Ryan and you are two amazing people, as is shown by such wonderful children (Austin and Alexandra)