By Matthew Bradley
With February more than half over, we have also reached the mid-point of the P.E.I. Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Person-to-Person (P2P) Heart Month campaign.
By now, many readers will have answered the knock on their door by a Foundation volunteer out canvassing their neighbourhood. Others will open their doors to a canvasser before the month is out. P2P represents the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s most visible fundraising campaign, raising a significant percentage of our annual revenues.
Over the last 60 years death rates from heart disease and stroke have declined more than 75 per cent. This means that more than 90 per cent of Canadians today who have a heart attack and more than 80 per cent who have a stroke and make it to the hospital will survive. The Foundation’s commitment to research over the past 60 years, totaling more than $1 billion, has contributed in large part to this increase in survival.
Without campaigns like Heart Month’s P2P, this upward trend in survival rates would not have been possible. Without our volunteers who go door-to-door during the coldest days of the year, heart attacks and strokes would be responsible for many more deaths. And without our generous donors who give in answer to the knock on their door or by some other means, many more of our loved ones, friends and colleagues would not come home following their heart attack or stroke.
Surviving a heart attack or stroke is just the first step in what can be a long journey back home and back to a better state of health. Survivors also need help once their immediate health crisis has passed. They need our support in making and maintaining lifestyle changes to reduce their risk for further problems, and services and programs to enable their integration back into the community. And we need more research, more education, and an environment that supports these healthy behaviours.
In closing, I extend sincere thanks to the many people across P.E.I. who have already donated to our P2P campaign. To those who have not yet had a visit from a canvasser, we hope you will consider answering the knock and making a donation. If we miss your house, or you’re not home when our volunteer calls, you can contribute online by visiting heartmonth.heartandstroke.ca or by giving us a call at 892-7441 or toll-free 1-888-473-4636.
With your help, we will move forward in our efforts to educate Islanders on how to reduce their risk, collaborate on programs to support those affected and advocate for healthy public policy. Your ongoing support will allow the Heart and Stroke Foundation to continue our proud tradition over six decades of funding the best researchers in leading institutions across Canada in the battle against these insidious diseases.
Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.
- Matthew Bradley is Chair, Board of Directors, P.E.I., Heart and Stroke Foundation.