Heart and stroke foundation calls off major fundraiser

Dave Stewart
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FILE PHOTO - Jen Bogart, left, stroke survivor, and Charlotte Comrie, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, were on hand at the Eastlink Centre, for the announcement of the new fundraising project Quarter Magic. The foundation will attempt to break the existing Guinness World record for the longest line of coins.

Charlotte Comrie says efforts to raise more than $845,000 with record number of quarters were not going well

The magic is gone but the message remains the same.

The P.E.I. Heart and Stroke Foundation has abandoned its Quarter Magic fundraiser, an effort to set a world record for the longest line of coins.

In May, the foundation announced plans for a new initiative that required 3,382,808 quarters to create an 80-kilometre line of quarters. It was going to be set up at Eastlink Centre on Nov. 22.

Charlotte Comrie, CEO of the foundation, said things didn’t go quite according to plan.

“The returns that we needed to really make a healthy stab at breaking the record just weren’t there,’’ Comrie said Monday. “We just didn’t have the confidence we needed to be able to even come close to breaking the record.

“Rather than spend more money and not have at least the confidence that we were making a really good stab at it, we decided to cancel the event.’’

The foundation would have raised $845,702 if it had worked, money it was going to use to fund a three-year campaign on recognizing the signs of a stroke and hammering home the message that people should call 911 immediately if they notice those signs. A month after the news conference to announce the fundraiser, a mere $1,000 had come in.

“I am hugely disappointed,’’ she said. “It was such a fun event, innovative, unique; there were all kinds of good things to say about it. We worked hard for just over a year, driving it, deciding to kick it off, we had all kinds of volunteers and colleagues involved. We just weren’t able to sustain (momentum).’’

Jen Bogart, a 39-year-old Charlottetown woman who survived a stroke last year and has since become the face of the national campaign, said the message remains the same.

“I am disappointed,’’ Bogart said, “but I know they’re not giving up on research and certainly they’re not giving up on how important it is to educate people on the signs of a stroke, and how vital it is to call 911 right away.’’

In P.E.I., about 350 strokes occur each year. At any given time, there are 800 stroke survivors in the province, many of them living with varying degrees of disability.

The clot-busting drug tPA, which saved Bogart’s life, can be administered to people with ischemic stroke and minimize the damage but the window for receiving this medication is between three and four hours from the onset of symptoms.

Bogart, who said she stayed in shape prior to her stoke and maintained a healthy weight, is proof that it can happen to anyone.

“Anybody at any point can have a stroke,’’ she said.

Comrie said the foundation is looking at ways to try and raise a portion of what Quarter Magic could have.

“But right now we don’t have a specific event in mind.’’

Signs of Stroke

- Signs of a stroke include weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache and dizziness.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: P.E.I. Heart and Stroke Foundation, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Big Joe
    August 05, 2014 - 14:35

    Why would anyone need to raise 800k plus to bring about awareness about the signs of a stroke when all one has to do is talk to a health care provider, do a little research online, or at the library to understand these signs? The problem with a lot of these groups is that they seek out funds under the guise of helping others or providing research for a cure, etc.; however, the majority of the money raised goes to pay fat salaries and administration. People are taxed to death and strapped for money nowadays and still all these agencies keep calling looking for donations. I'd much sooner give my expendable cash to someone I know who truly needs it instead of some of these organizations that promise a lot, but rarely deliver.

  • Sadly
    August 05, 2014 - 11:18

    Sadly all of these big money fundraisers are more big money businesses these days & little or no money goes to really help anyone.

  • so sad
    August 05, 2014 - 10:10

    so if the money was raised they were going to spend $23491 per month to money it was going to use to fund a three-year campaign on recognizing the signs of a stroke and hammering home the message that people should call 911 immediately if they notice those signs.$23,491 per month

  • The Observer from Stratford
    August 05, 2014 - 09:51

    Raise your hands if you knew about this challenge. I think they are giving up too soon. Instead of cancelling they should have upped their publicity campaign. If they had done so I have no doubt that by Nov. they would have raised the desired amount to go after the record.

    • hmattl
      August 05, 2014 - 12:00

      It was on CBC Compass several times, as well as CBC Radio. Don't assume it was not well advertised, because you never knew.......

  • hmatt
    August 05, 2014 - 09:04

    Way to ambitious, it was set up to fail, right from the beginning. Greed is a sin.

  • Inofrmed Consumer
    August 05, 2014 - 08:58

    On the surface it seems like such a great idea to raise money to support a great cause. But just where does this money go? If you want to get an idea of how this organization (or perhaps more correctly corporation) operates, go ahead and google "health check controversy".

  • Fed up
    August 05, 2014 - 08:42

    This is FIRST I've heard of it! Perhaps more advertising would have helped? Or maybe I was just not in the right place at the right time. Sorry you had to cancel. Sounds like a good plan...