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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  1. Tanks for running this Jamie. It’s one of charities of choice for a few reasons.

  2. Author

    Hugger I think it’s sad that they don’t send us releases. If this story wasn’t submitted it would not reach our viewers.

  3. I know most releases are handled by the provincial office. Perhaps you should correspond with them.

  4. Author

    Hugger we don’t chase to donate. A story is the same cost as a production ad on CFN. Nothing is free in this world. Generally a charity asks for space to help get the word out. Not vice versa and the one time we did that it was a waste of our time.

  5. Hugger my sister in law passed away last December 2013 of heart condition. She had surgery done because of blocked arteries in the heart and about 3 weeks after she died. Heart condition and strokes is mighty serious and runs in my own family as well. Yes this is one other area that needs money for research as well.

  6. Good to know. I can imagine if you chased charities for stories you could be seen as showing favourtism.

  7. It runs in my family too Julrs. My dad died of a heart attack while sitting on the toilet in 2009. My grandfather (father’s side) also died of a heart attack. I didn’t know about my grandfather until after my father passed on. I have blood clot issues, so I’m on medications for that for the rest of my life. Now if I could get my iron levels where they should be I’d almost be back to normal (& no comments from the peanut gallery about being “normal”).

  8. These huge money raising “foundations” exist to support themselves, and maybe throw a few bucks at whatever cause they claim to support. If you have money to donate, give it directly to a local food bank or shelter or wherever it will do the most good without paying the huge salaries of directors and staff of these fund-raising outfits. And you’ll still get a tax receipt.

  9. 61 cents spent to raise 1 dollar. The Cornwall Hospital paid out 65 cents to raise one dollar. Does anyone else consider that perhaps when a supposed charity passes the 50 per cent mark, has a virtual army of staff who earn well above average income salaries and hold reserves to the tune of over 130 million dollars perhaps this is just a business. While they may represent a good idea the model is a business one and not a charitable one in reality.

    I have learned that the best way that I can help is to provide a hand up directly, no middleman, no paid canvassers, no paid administration, no costly campaigns, just help directly where needed.

    100 cents on the dollar.

  10. Since the gov’t doesn’t fund cancer, heart, stroke, etc. research they have no option but to ask for donations. Better to have a little go to research, etc. than none at all.

  11. Hugger heart condition is very serious and nothing to joke about and it runs in my family and my husband’s family as well. My sister in law was also a cancer patient of all things and we all thought if she goes then it would be cancer but all the time she went with her heart. She was passing out at home in the washroom and at people homes again in the washroom. Diabetes is another issue with both sides of our families. Hugger you take care of yourself. When you see me post don’t get angry have a good laugh instead.

  12. David, we are at last in agreement about something. These fund-raising outfits are no different from any other business other than their “charitable” status for tax purposes. Recall the sad story from a few years ago when the Sick Kids Foundation in Toronto paid its president $2.7 million just to go away. Here’s a link. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2009/10/01/sick_kids_charity_boss_gets_27m_sendoff.html
    Hugger. If you really want to put some money into disease research, give it directly to a university or hospital that actually does the research. Believe me, the Terry Fox clan are doing okay.

  13. Hugger1 news flash the Canadian Government does not fund anything they only flow through money obtained from the taxpayer who technically funds everything on all levels. Even then is it technically mainly the wealthy that look after the majority of all funding. But then really who cares? Many people think the government pays but then this is a social democracy, heavy emphasis on the social aspect.
    After all people in Ontario voted to give more money and control to the current provincial government.

  14. Everyone picks their charity of choice for a reason.

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