Olympians Curt Harnett and Marnie McBean help kick off registration and fundraising for the 25th annual Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart at Yonge-Dundas Square
TORONTO, April 11, 2012 /CNW/ - Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 3 and register early for the 25th anniversary of the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart.
That was the message today from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario, as Olympians Curt Harnett and Marnie McBean joined with heart disease and stroke survivors to kick off Ride for Heart, the largest charity cycling event in the country.
"I first rode the Ride for Heart 15 years ago," said Curt Harnett, four-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medallist and former world record holder in cycling."The event has reached its capacity of 13,000 people for two years in a row because cyclists enjoy the incredible experience of riding along a traffic-free Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. 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."
Participants will also have the satisfaction of supporting vital research and programs to help eliminate heart disease and stroke, which takes 1 in 3 Canadians and is the # 1 killer of women. These are statistics that come close to home for rower Marnie McBean, three-time Olympic gold medallist and also an avid cyclist.
"Despite being athletic, my brother had a heart attack at 43 years old," said McBean. "He is doing fine now, but it is with funds raised by events like Ride for Heart that we can help support life-saving research, while participating in healthy physical activity."
In addition to training demos and tips using state-of-the-art RealRyder™ spin bikes, the kick off included a health circuit with nurses testing participants' blood pressure and cholesterol levels - two key modifiable risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Heart and Stroke Foundation dietitians and physical activity and smoking cessation experts were also on hand to provide on the spot health information.
"Up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable with healthy lifestyle changes," says Dr. Marco Di Buono, Director of Philanthropy, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario. "It is crucial that Canadians are aware of their risk factors and take personal action to improve their health."
"This is a milestone year for Ride for Heart," added Di Buono. "Every cyclist in the past 25 years should be proud that the money raised goes to support leading-edge scientific research, advocacy and health promotion. In Ontario, the Foundation funds 600 researchers. Our riders' support has enabled us to invest more than $40 million in research in Ontario to benefit all Canadians. Every dollar raised will help save lives."
Also at the kick off event today were Heart and Stroke Foundation spokespeople and heart disease survivors Brian Campkin and Sheryl Gill. They were joined by 22-year-old heart transplant recipient Maya Stern, riding and fundraising for the first time, and stroke survivor Heather Nutt, who cycles as part of her recuperation from stroke.
Maya Stern, age 22, says, "February 9, 2012 was the first anniversary of my heart transplant. Because of funds donated to Heart and Stroke Foundation that brought the first heart transplant to Canada, I have gone from being unable to walk upstairs to running up the stairs, from having purple lips to pink lips and colour in my cheeks. The Ride is so important to me," she added, "because it is proof of how much research can help."
The funds you raise can help someone like spokesperson Sheryl Gill, who nearly died in 2007 - when she was 38 years old - from a cardiac arrest, the result of an undetected congenital birth defect. Open heart surgery was the only way to treat this condition. Today, Sheryl's heart is better than ever, and she says, "I aspire to approach life with love; to give my full attention to those I'm with; to motivate people to take action, live in health and embrace hope."
Brian Campkin is also a survivor and a spokesperson. He says, "This year marks the fifth anniversary of my triple bypass surgery and now I live to help others. My surgery inspired me to ride for those who have succumbed to this dreadful disease before their time -- my dad, Lawrence (1991), my friend Mike (2007), and my colleague Cathy (2011). With our help, the Heart and Stroke Foundation can continue to make life better for Canadians through research achievements and medical advances."
Heather Nutt-Christensen is a survivor too - in 2008 she suffered a massive stroke on the left side of her brain, affecting the right side of her body. She credits her recovery to both medical staff and the medication that was developed to combat stroke. "I am alive," she says, "and I no longer live to work but work to live. Take the time to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Together we can fight heart disease and stroke one donation at a time."
Becel® has always believed in the importance of caring for your heart. It's why Becel® margarine was created, and why the brand remains dedicated to educating Canadians about the importance of heart healthy living. Through its development of educational resources to help Canadians manage their heart health, its sponsorship of the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart, and in the development of products such as Becel® pro.activ® calorie-reduced margarine with plant sterols, the first food with plant sterols in Canada, Becel® maintains its commitment to heart health innovation and education. For more information, visit www.becel.ca.
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in 180. With products that are used over two billion times a day around the world, we work to create a better future every day and help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. In Canada the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Degree, Dove personal care products, Good Humor, Hellmann's, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Nexxus, Noxzema, Popsicle, Q-Tips, Ragu, Skippy, St. Ives, TIGI, TRESemmé, and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Unilever Canada employs more than 1,600 people generating approximately $1.4 billion in sales in 2011. For more information, please visit www.unilever.ca.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, 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.
To register for the 25th Anniversary Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart, call 416-486-RIDE (7433) or visit www.rideforheart.ca.
Background Facts for Ride for Heart:
Route Options and Fees for the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart
- 75 km: Start time 6 a.m. - Requirement: registration fee plus minimum $100 in pledges
- 25 km or 50 km Early Start: Start time 7:30 a.m. - Requirement: registration fee plus minimum $100 in pledges
- 25 km or 50 km General Start: Start time 8 a.m. - Requirement: registration fee plus minimum $100 in pledges
Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. The registration fee covers the cost of hosting this event. Your fundraising over this fee supports the work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
The fee includes everything you need for a great Ride:
- Traffic-free access to the DVP and the Gardiner
- Rest stations with snacks and beverages
- A delicious, heart-healthy lunch
- Route marshals and bike paramedics for your safety
- Mechanical support for your bike
- An exciting post-Ride celebration
How to Register
- Online: Register at www.rideforheart.ca. Once a participant registers, a Personal Profile is automatically created. Using their online profiles, participants can create their own personalized webpage to manage their account and reach their goal. Then they can easily send emails to friends, family and colleagues, who can go to the fundraising page and sponsor the participant with secure online pledge payment processing. All online sponsors and donors will receive an automatic e-receipt. Register online until Thursday, May 31, at 11:59 p.m.
- By phone: Call 416-486-RIDE (7433)
- By fax: 416-932-1629
- By mail: Send a completed form before Tuesday, May 8, 2012, to:
The Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart
P.O. Box 1227, Station K
2384 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4P 3E4
Event-day registrations take place between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (pre-registration is required for those wanting the 75 km route or the Early Start) at the Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place.
For your safety, a certified helmet suitable for cycling is mandatory at the event.
Please note that an inline skating option is no longer offered at the Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart. Use of inline skates is prohibited on all sections of the route.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario gratefully acknowledges the following companies for their generous sponsorship of the 25th Anniversary Becel Heart&Stroke Ride for Heart:
Corporate Challenge Sponsor
The Printing House
EMS/PAD Challenge Sponsors
For further information:
Teresa Roncon, Public Relations
Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario
416-489-7111 x482, Cell 416-937-5307