Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign provides kids of all ages with healthy and fun gift ideas to help moms protect their heart health
TORONTO, May 4, 2012 /CNW/ - This Mother's Day, Toronto-based stroke survivor and mother Dr. Nikki Martyn-Capobianco urges families to help ensure moms commit the time they need to make their heart health a priority - today and every day.
Moms often put their family's needs first - and may neglect their own health. This Mother's Day, the Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign - in partnership with female heart disease and stroke survivors across the country - is encouraging families across Canada to celebrate Mom by "gifting" her heart health.
"Having a stroke with no risk factors was a terrifying experience," said Martyn-Capobianco. "When I was in the hospital on the gurney waiting to get a CT scan, I had a moment where I stopped fighting for my life and I let fear take over. My symptoms got much worse - then I saw my son's face. I thought, I can't die; I can't let him live his life without a mom. I fought and I won."
One year ago, Martyn-Capobianco, a Ryerson University professor, had a stroke. A tiny blood clot was lodged in her brain. When she tried to write her name and all her pen could do was draw a flat line, she knew something was wrong, but never thought she was having a stroke. A 34-year-old non‐smoker, without hypertension or any family history of stroke, she certainly didn't think it would happen to her.
"I have been very fortunate and worked very hard to make a (nearly) full recovery," said Martyn-Capobianco. "Post-stroke I could not hold a fork, a pen; I struggled greatly with writing. I had lost some coordination and strength in my leg. My speech and vision were moderately affected. Today, if you met me, you wouldn't even know I'd had a stroke."
While immediate medical attention saved Martyn-Capobianco's life, the experience left her with one strong message - protect and pay attention to your heart health. The truth is, heart disease and stroke is the number one killer of women in Canada1, more than all cancers combined, but most women don't know it. Women often ignore their own warning signs and symptoms, increasing their risk for heart disease and stroke.
"Throughout this experience, my son Carson has been prominent for me. I think this is something all moms can relate to; we do anything we need to do for our kids," said Martyn-Capobianco. "I am sharing my story with the hope that moms will start taking better care of themselves and their children. Simple steps can reduce the risks significantly and this means fewer kids will have to grow up without a mom."
Far too many women die before their time from heart disease and stroke. This Mother's Day, with a Heart Truth e-card that includes a personalized pledge to support mom's heart, kids can inspire their moms to get heart-health aware and carve out time to protect their heart health.
Kids can access customizable Mother's Day e-cards at thehearttruth.ca/e-cards/. To ensure children of all ages can find a heartfelt message that suits them and their moms, the e-cards come in designs for younger children, teens, and adults. Each of the cards offer in-kind "gifts" of household chores kids can take off Mom's plate, freeing time for her to take care of her heart health through exercise and relaxation.
To round out a heartfelt and fun Mother's Day, families can start by serving Mom a healthy breakfast in bed, accompany her to an energizing a yoga class, give her a relaxing shoulder rub, and prepare a healthy family dinner. Finally, families can share life-saving heart health information with Mom, including prevention tips, warning signs and symptoms, a custom risk profile and questions that she can ask her doctor, all available at thehearttruth.ca.
"My stroke helped me reflect about what I want and what makes me happy and fulfilled," added Martyn-Capobianco. "It helped me appreciate the kiss on the cheek from my son or hearing, 'You're the best mommy in the whole world' - moments in life we often gloss over or take for granted. I make an effort every day to appreciate the little moments and take them in."
About The Heart Truth™ campaign
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign is raising awareness that heart disease and stroke is the #1 killer of women in Canada, but most don't know it. Heart disease is not a "man's disease": women are more likely than men to die of a heart attack or stroke. But by taking care of themselves and making incremental heart healthy lifestyle changes, women can add more years to their life and more life to their years. In fact, women can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 per cent by making lifestyle changes2.
Canadians can show their support for The Heart Truth by purchasing and wearing a red dress pin, the official symbol of the campaign, which represents women's courage, passion and their power for change as they share the truth with others and raise awareness about the importance of heart health. Red dress pins are available for purchase at local Heart and Stroke Foundation offices. One hundred percent of proceeds will be reinvested into the Heart and Stroke Foundation's women and heart disease initiatives.
The Heart Truth campaign gratefully acknowledges the support of founding sponsor, Becel, and contributing sponsors Chatelaine, Post Shredded Wheat, and Health Check™, without whom the program would not be possible.
About The Heart and Stroke Foundation™
The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.
- Investing in Canada's Future 2003-2004, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 2004
- How to make sure the beat goes on protecting a woman's heart, Johnson PA, Manson JE -Circulation, 2005; 111: e 28-33
Media backgrounders are available for download at thehearttruth.ca/media-room.
Image with caption: "Stroke survivor, Nikki Martyn-Capobianco with son, Carson. (CNW Group/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120504_C4567_PHOTO_EN_13152.jpg
For further information:
For media interviews with a local survivor and/or a local Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson, please contact:
Heart and Stroke Foundation (Ontario)
Sr. Associate Manager, Media Relations
416-489-7111 ext. 353