Heart and Stroke Foundations across Canada combine fundraising efforts to support research

By Jerry Laird

March 1, 2016

On P.E.I. eight staff manage more than 1,000 volunteers in a number of fundraising events, said Crystal Cobb, the volunteer coordinator with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Volunteers run support groups prepare canvasing packages and work checkpoints at a cycling event are some of the things they do. (Check the web site for a complete list.)

“Our board members are volunteers,” said Cobb.

The Norton’s Razzle Dazzle Gala held in February at the Delta, is the biggest social event, said Cobb.

“The door-to-door canvasing makes the most money.”

Cobb said recruiting volunteers to do the canvasing is her biggest challenge.

“ I have 350 volunteers so far, but we need 900.”

Health promotions coordinator Jenilyn Delong said the bulk of the money raised is used to fund research.

“The research isn’t done on P.E.I. It’s done in places like in Toronto and Calgary.”

Since the foundation was conceived in 1952, the death rate of cardiovascular-related deaths has dropped by 75 per cent.

For example, they discovered aspirin is a blood thinner and can help prevent heart attack and stroke.

Delong said locally education is the main focus.

To promote a healthy lifestyle volunteers have built community gardens and help gardeners prepare the harvest in a healthy way.

Delong said the foundation also works with support groups for caregivers and survivors of stroke.

“We supply information and guidance to the groups, no money goes to them directly.”