Christina Stuwe didn’t see heart disease coming. The 47-year-old mother was experiencing burning sensations in her upper back along with pain in her arms and occasional racing heartbeats. But tests showed nothing conclusive.
She had no idea that complications during her pregnancy 10 years earlier increased her risk of heart attack or stroke. She only found out when she insisted on further testing — and learned she needed bypass surgery for three blocked arteries.
Heart & Stroke launched our national women’s health awareness campaign, #TimeToSeeRed, in 2018. The goal is to close the research gap by doubling the dollars invested in studying women’s hearts and brains. It’s about preventing close calls like Christina’s. It’s about redressing the fact that until now, 2/3 of heart and stroke clinical research has been done on men.
And it’s about supporting the work of researchers like Dr. Margie Davenport and Dr. Kara Nerenberg, both from Alberta, who are studying different ways to reduce the toll of the complications that put Christina at risk.
Christina is recovering well and telling her story to alert other women. Thanks to her courage and the generosity of Heart & Stroke donors — led by founding members of our Women’s Heart and Brain Health Initiative — our message about women’s heart and brain health is getting louder.
For more than 60 years, Heart & Stroke has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our work has saved thousands of lives and improved the lives of millions of others. You’ll probably run into someone today who is alive and well thanks to the countless Canadians who have supported our cause with their time and donations.
It could be the young boy you pass on the street whose heart defect was successfully mended thanks to life-saving research. Or the woman at the coffee shop whose stroke was treated with a clot-busting drug. Or the father whose hockey teammates saved his life with CPR.
Our vision: Life. Uninterrupted by heart disease and stroke.
Our progress is real. The death rate from heart disease and stroke has declined more than 75% over the past six decades. See our latest results. Envisioning this kind of progress was what drove a visionary group of Canadians, including researchers and physicians, to establish the beginnings of Heart & Stroke in 1952.
What we do today
Heart & Stroke is a leading funder of life-saving research, which has led to breakthroughs such as heart transplant surgery and a revolutionary stroke treatment that cuts the death rate by 50%.
We empower Canadians to live healthier lives — from preventing and controlling high blood pressure to getting more physical activity. And we fight for change that will create better health for all, such as reducing salt in the food supply and improving access to stroke rehabilitation. But there’s a lot more to do. Much more.
Heart disease, stroke and related conditions take one life every five minutes in Canada. An estimated 1.6 million more are living with the devastating effects of these diseases. And 9 in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor!
The threat of heart disease and stroke has never been more urgent. And it’s amplified by our aging population, sedentary lifestyles, poor diets and more.
These are the realities confronting us today. To tackle these challenges, Heart & Stroke is focusing our efforts on areas where we can make the biggest impact:
· fighting for prevention
· saving lives
· transforming recovery
· investing in life-saving research
Achieving these goals won’t be easy. But the support of our donors and volunteers makes it possible. We believe life is worth fighting for. And we don’t want you to miss it.
If you would like to learn more about the projects we currently have on the go please check out our website https://www.heartandstroke.ca/what-we-do ,
or reach Derek Newman at [email protected]
The strength of Heart & Stroke and every Canadian is interconnected. Communities across the country depend on us and we depend on them. Our vision is a world where Canadians live healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.
- Advocating to protect our youth: Every year, millions of dollars are spent trying to get our kids’ attention. But targeting kids with food and beverage ads is having a devastating effect on their health, and it’s time for this to stop. The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition is made up of 12 non-governmental organizations, including Heart & Stroke, with a common goal of restricting all commercial marketing of food and beverages to children and youth 16 and under. Federal legislation to restrict marketing of food and beverages to children is currently before Parliament – together we can make it happen!
- Health education: Through our website, health resources and health presentations and fairs in our local communities, Heart & Stroke is committed to sharing health information with Canadians so that we can all look forward to long lives with many magical moments! Get started on your journey towards a healthier lifestyle
- Knowing your risk factors: Too often, disease robs Canadians of healthy years – yet most of us can reduce our risks of heart disease and stroke. Heart & Stroke Health eTools help you assess your risks and set goals to reduce them, and we’re there to support you every step of the way. Take the first step today!
- Research: To save lives from heart disease and stroke, we need to support the very best research – and Alberta researchers are at the forefront. Dr. Michael Hill holds the Heart & Stroke Professorship in Stroke Research at the University of Calgary. In 2015, Dr. Hill led the ESCAPE clinical trial, funded in part through the Professorship; this breakthrough study has revolutionized the treatment of major strokes, cutting death rates in half and significantly reducing disability. Funding research is the core of what Heart & Stroke does.
- Public Awareness: When it comes to stroke, time is brain: 1.9 million brain cells die every minute after stroke onset. That’s why Heart & Stroke launched the FAST signs of stroke campaign. Nancy Smith of Calgary heard our FAST radio spot on her way to visit her mom, Rita Frost. She recognized that her mom was having a stroke, called 9-1-1, and Rita is doing great! Read Nancy’s story and others like it – truly life-saving advertising.
- Life-saving skills: There are approximately 40,000 cardiac arrests in Canada each year – only 1 in 10 survive cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital. And yet, the chance of surviving doubles when early CPR is used in combination with an AED in the first few minutes. Hear the stories of three Alberta men who are alive today because someone chose courage! Learn more about how you can save a life and find a course near you.
- Research: Heart failure occurs when the heart is damaged from a heart attack or other cause, leaving it unable to pump blood through the body as well as it should. While there are treatments to manage the symptoms, there is no cure. At the University of Calgary, Dr. Paul Fedak’s research, with funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, is looking at repairing damaged tissues in the heart muscle after a heart attack. His research could be a game-changer for many of the 600,000 Canadians living with heart failure.
- Peer support: Heart & Stroke is actively working to connect Canadians living with heart disease and stroke so they can learn from and support each other in their journeys. For example, the Heart & Stroke Community of Survivors Facebook group was established to provide a forum where Canadians can share experiences, quality information and tips for life after a diagnosis, a stroke or a cardiac event. Members find social and emotional support in a safe, inclusive and respectful community. Contact us for more information.
- Resources: Heart & Stroke has collaborated extensively with health professionals and people with lived experience to develop vital resources designed to support survivors of heart disease and stroke and their caregivers. It is our hope that Your Stroke Journey, Living Well with Heart Disease and Living with Heart Failure. Read these and other Heart & Stroke publications for support in recovery, prevention, and more.
For other ways to get involved with Heart & Stroke, please visit our website.
- Every seven minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke
- More than 1.6 million survivors, and their families and caregivers, are living with the devastating after effects of heart disease and stroke
- Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in this country, costing our economy more than $20.9 billion every year
- 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented
- Nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke
Every Gift Counts
We greatly appreciate and welcome a one-time gift, on-line donations, gifts of securities, legacy giving, and would be pleased to meet with you to discuss pledges or major gifts. There are many ways to contribute to our mission priorities, including:
- $5,000 will bring heart and brain health education resources to 500 students in your community. If our society is to live longer and healthier lives it begins with proper education and habits at an early age.
- $10,000 will help to teach healthcare professionals and faculty the lifesaving skills of CPR and know how to use an AED. Any one of us can suffer a cardiac arrest. Are you prepared to help save a life?
- $25,000 will fund a radio public awareness campaign about the FAST signs of stroke. This is life-saving advertising!
- $60,000 will provide an outstanding researcher in their early career with an Alberta New Investigator Award. This initiative aims to nurture and build the capacity of Alberta’s cardio and cerebrovascular research and increase impact on the Heart & Stroke mission to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. The award provides researchers with the opportunity to establish research programs and build teams through the provision of a contribution to their group research efforts, laboratories or salary.
- $100,000 will provide support to an Alberta Heart & Stroke Professorship in Research. These Professors lead research advancement, attract and foster outstanding students, trainees and scholars, promote collaborative research across disciplines and provide strong leadership for the development of world-class research programs in Alberta. Professorship funding is flexible as it is not tied to a specific project, so they can support multiple projects to achieve a broader vision and lead innovations in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Potential for naming the award in your honour.
- $300,000 will fund a Grant-in-Aid award for three years. GIAs provide operating funds to support important, pertinent, novel research in heart disease and stroke. This funding promotes research discovery, exploration and innovation across all health research themes. Knowledge gained from scientific findings contributes to the heart and brain health of Canadians through prevention, treatment and recovery. Research is supported across the four health research themes: Basic Biomedical, Clinical, Health Services/Systems, Social, Cultural, Environmental and Population Health.