Heart and Stroke Foundation partners up with UTSC for Heart Month

Students reached out to the Heart and Stroke Foundation for a unique event last week that aimed to encourage a healthier lifestyle for young people.

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) students organized the Think Heart About It event, in honour of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart Month.

The two-day interactive event, launched on Feb. 15, is aimed at raising awareness about issues such as cardiovascular disease and epilepsy.

Mira Tusha, an organizer for the event, says all donations and proceeds went to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“We have raised quite a lot of money so far,” she said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

One in three Canadians die from heart disease and stroke, and youth are more at risk than ever of being affected.

Vicky Vuong, a second-year student, started the Heart and Stroke Foundation club at UTSC because young peoples’ lives are exposed to heart diseases.  She has been volunteering for the Heart and Stroke Foundation because of her grandmother’s past with heart disease.

“As students we’re not eating right, sleeping right. But what about our health?

— Caity Patterson

“Young people don’t realize that prevention starts now.  Everything leads up and accumulates,” Vuong said. “There are so many factors like partying, drinking and doing drugs that will harm your body and indirectly harm your heart.”

UTSC collaborated with the Emergency Medical Response Group (EMRG), a non-profit volunteer organization which provides first aid help to students before the ambulance arrives; saving lives during the crucial moments leading up to arriving at a hospital.

“Knowing how to do CPR is a life-saving skill,” says Caity Patterson, a third-year student at UTSC who was trained by EMRG to check the blood pressure of participants at the event.

EMRG had a booth for participants to sign up for more extensive CPR courses where they can get certified training.

Think Heart About It had booths set up about healthy food alternatives, interactive games and a “CPR-athon” which allows for EMRG trainees to give participants a crash CPR course on dummies provided at the event.

Started in Canada by the Heart and Stroke Foundation more than 60 years ago, Heart Month is a campaign organized to raise awareness for heart diseases and stroke.