February is Heart & Stroke Month – Campaign Kicks off in Cornwall Ontario – by James Madison


heart-and-stroke-logo-webCFN – Heart Disease and Stroke takes the life of one Canadian every 7 minutes. In addition, the Cornwall and SD&G area is known as a cardiac hotspot by Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) researchers; 2500 people are hospitalized each year from heart disease and stroke conditions. In an effort at creating awareness for the growing health condition, Cindy Rowe, area manager of the HSF Cornwall Area Office, sent a request to city council, on December 17, asking them if they would consider recognizing February as “the heart and stroke month”. On January 12, the motion was approved.

But the idea of nominating February as “the heart and stroke month” isn’t only a Cornwall thing. Throughout the country, HSF flags will be flown atop of municipalities, in the hopes of not only raising awareness, but kick off a very important campaign for the HSF; the Heart Month campaign.

In the past, several activities throughout Cornwall have been organized by the HSF, such as Hoops for Heart.

What prompted the heart month campaign?

With an ambitious goal of $600,000, Canadian physician Dr. Wilfred Bigelow and president of HSF launched the Heart Month campaign in 1958, all in the name of heart research. In Ontario, volunteers in Hamilton, Kingston, Lakehead, London, Oakville, Oshawa, Peterborough and Port Hope launched a modest door-to-door campaign to raise a provincial goal of $250,000. By the end of the campaign, they had exceeded their goal and raised $320,000.

In 1962, the campaign was expanded to include additional cities. Canvassers consisted primarily of Air Cadet Squadrons, Ladies’ Auxiliary and Canadian Legion branches and medical students from the University of Toronto.

Today, the February Heart Month campaign is a national, community-based fundraising campaign. The success of this event depends on its 100,000 volunteers. Volunteers canvass for donations through the month of February, to support life-saving research and raise awareness of heart disease and stroke within their communities.

Since the creation of the campaign, the HSF has invested over $1.3 billion in heart disease and stroke research.

Where does the money go?

According to their website, the HSF has “invested $38 million in life-saving heart disease and stroke research in 2013, supporting nearly 1,500 researchers across Canada, has placed 6,500 life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in communities across Canada and has funded the development of life-saving treatments that created 165,000 survivors”

The foundation offers a breakdown of how it spends every donor dollar. For every dollar they spend, 54 cents is invested in their mission, including 23 cents to research, 31 cents to health promotion, 39 cents is invested in fundraising and 7 cents goes to administration, which includes support such as accounting and information technology for their operations across Canada. A report published by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) examined the exact costs of fundraising for the foundation and found that to raise one dollar of revenue the HSF spends just over 61 cents.

But an article published by the Toronto Star back in 2007, revealed not only that the non for profit foundation was sitting on a $130 million “war chest”, primarily made up of donor funds, but also that salaries for staff was now up to $18.9 million.

Charity Intelligence Canada, an organisation made up of several equity analysts as well as directors of research firms, highlights, in a 2013 report, that the HSF of Canada is made up of 572 full time employees, who receive on average $72,329 in compensation and that the top ten employee salary range is situated between $200,000 to $350,000.

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