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April 29/14 11:48 am - Ride for Heart to Hold Kick-Off Event in Toronto

Posted by Editoress on 04/29/14

The 27th annual Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart is just over a month away, and the excitement is building. To launch the bike season "with heart," the Heart and Stroke Foundation is inviting the public and the media to a special kick-off event.

Where: Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto

When: Thursday, May 1, 12 noon to 1 p.m.

What: A festive street-front event with a photo op, showcasing supporters, sponsors, and health-related booths. See demonstrations of CPR and the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED). A free Blood Pressure Clinic will be conducted by three First Health Nurses. Enjoy a corn roast, courtesy of Becel. PowerWatts will be supplying state-of-the-art stationary bikes for the event and Vitess will display a very special custom-made bike for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, weighing in at less than 12 pounds, to be won by a lucky VIP Rider.

Here's a unique opportunity for attendees, survivors, celebrities - including Olympic cyclist Curt Harnett - and the master riders to "compete" against each other side by side. As a partner with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Wheels of Bloor/Graywood Developments Racing Team is providing PowerWatts training bikes, fitted with power measurement used to evaluate cycling performance. The bikes are attached to a large video screen with a score board that measures the rider's performance. Participants can cycle to high-energy music while challenging one another.

Who: Olympic cyclist Curt Harnett and 25-year-old former NHL player and CPR/AED survivor Brett Maclean, plus other survivors: Dave Allingham (Hamilton), Brian Campkin (Oshawa), Sheryl Gill (Oakville), Bailey Bernknopf (Thornhill), with her mother, Kerry (representing Team Bailey), Nikki Martyn-Capobianco (Toronto), as well as cardiologist and long-time Foundation spokesperson Dr. Chi-Ming Chow.

Help Us Reach Our Goal
Our goal for 2014 is to raise $6 million dollars. The funds you raise will support world-class research, health promotion and advocacy. Every dollar you donate or raise for the Ride for Heart helps create more survivors. A maximum of 14,000 cyclists are allowed to participate. To register, call 416-486-RIDE (7433) or visit;. The Ride sold out early last year - sign up today.

Spokesperson Curt Harnett is a four-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist and former world record holder in cycling. The cyclist, who was a play-by-play commentator for CTV during the London 2012 Olympic Games, has participated in the Ride for Heart for 17 years. Says Curt, "I continue to ride because we are raising money that saves lives, and I truly feel there is no better way to appreciate the beauty of our great city than a bike ride up the Don Valley."

Marnie McBean, three-time Olympic gold medalist, is participating in the Ride for Heart for a very personal reason. Her brother had a heart attack at 43, and her father had a pacemaker put in two years ago. As well, a good friend and rowing partner of Marnie's had to stop rowing when she was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD), a rare type of cardiomyopathy.

"We cannot control all the factors that put us at risk for cardiovascular disease," says Dr. Beth Abramson, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson and author of the book Heart Health for Canadians. "But there are healthy changes people can make to largely prevent them from having a heart attack or stroke in the first place. And for people living with cardiovascular disease, these healthy behaviours are especially important. But we need more research, more education, and an environment that supports these healthy behaviours."

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day.
Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.


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