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February is Heart Month 2012

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 — 11:05am PDT
Comments 44

February is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada‘s “Heart Month” and while they emailed me weeks ago, I haven’t been able to compose myself enough to write about the topic until now.

Chinatown - Winter Solstice Lantern Festival
Photo credit: eych-you-bee-ee-ahr-tee on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

It’s been exactly a year since my Oma was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack. I met my family in her room at the hospital and didn’t know what to expect. My Oma was indestructible, at least I always thought so. At 89 she would be out in her garden pulling up weeds with her knuckles, making jams and jellies in her kitchen, and keeping up around the house with her great-grandchildren. That day she looked weak and worried. They had to move her to another hospital for a procedure and given a few other conditions, and her current state, we had no idea what to expect. She had another heart attack that sent her into a coma.

We spent days in shifts, rotating in and out of the ICU. I held her hand and listened to the chilling amplified sounds of the device that was helping her heart beat. I’ll never forget that sound as every time I heard one beat, I held my breath until I heard another. I counted dozens of wires attached to devices and pouches at her bedside, her hand and arm swollen from the needles. She had never been admitted to a hospital in her life.

Eventually she was moved out of the ICU and woken up. She enjoyed bragging to us about how she pulled through and how much better she was feeling each day. She had inside jokes with nurses, told them about all of her kids, and watched vases and baskets of flowers light up her window sill. We all knew the much-needed emotional lift wouldn’t last as she had a complication that meant she was never going to get better.

I can’t tell you how much time had passed until she started a steady decline. We suspect she had another stroke. My mother and aunt were constantly at her side and when my sister, cousin, brother, or I would visit we’d take her hand in ours. It would be warm from the previous child’s touch. She passed away in April.

knitted heart
Photo credit: mararie on Flickr

Someone in Canada has a heart attack every 7 minutes. Strokes happen every 10 minutes. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in Canada and the cause of 1 in every 3 deaths.

This month, if you haven’t already, please take some time to look through the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s online resources. You can take a risk assessment test on the website or through the My Heart & Stroke Health mobile app. You can volunteer, donate, learn to smart tips for eating right, or perform a healthy action.

To promote Heart Month and all of the actions you can take, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is offering up a prize pack valued at $150. This includes a live or virtual nutrition counseling session with a HSF registered dietitian, a heart-healthy cookbook, pedometer, measuring spoons, water bottle, and reusable HSF bag. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a #MakeDeathWait Heart Month prize pack from @TheHSF & @Miss604

I will draw one winner at 10:00am next Tuesday, February 14, 2012. Update The winner is DB!


  1. James says:

    Yea First!!

  2. Roxane Brown says:

    I used to work in Cardiothoracic ICU and took care of many people post open heart surgery. Both young and old. Heart disease is something that everyone should be aware of and be conscious about.

  3. Samantha says:

    Make Death Wait – great campaign by the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

  4. Carlie Welters says:

    Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Colin says:

    Everyone should take the risk assessment test!

  6. Raia says:

    A very good post,sorry for your loss. For every person that takes the Risk Assessment test Desjarding Financial will donate $1 to Heart and Stroke. It took less than 5 minutes, and I thought it had some good advice.

  7. Daniel says:

    Awesome campaign.

  8. Very sorry for your loss, and it is not easy to express what we experience at such times. Thank you for sharing your story, and for the health info – I use the health services app now thanks to you! Keep up the great work!

  9. Kristy says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Thanks for bring attention to this important cause amnd sharing your personal story. I think women especially do not realize how much this problem can effect them even if they are living healthy. Take care. Kristy

  10. C Wilson says:

    Thanks for helping to bring more awareness to Heart month…I’m so sorry for the loss of your Oma

  11. Mark says:

    Heart and Stroke Foundation price pack! I could use some help with my eating habbits!;)

  12. isha says:

    my mom had a heart attack almost exactly two years ago and she is doing really well now so grateful to heart and stroke Foundation

  13. Mandy says:

    If I am fortunate enough to win this package, it will go to my mother, who is a wonderful woman but doesn’t know where to begin in leading a healthy lifestyle. I want to keep her around as long as possible!

  14. Katie P says:

    Great article!

  15. Laura s says:

    Great post…a really important campaign

  16. Mary says:

    My father suffered a cardiac arrest in March! Great awareness piece.

  17. donna chong says:

    always use some good info on eating heartfully

  18. Rosemary Breschuk-Chiu says:

    A vital campaign

  19. Sita says:

    So sorry for your loss, this is a great cause to get behind.

  20. Katie says:

    So important to remind ourselves of the importance of being heart-healthy!

  21. Teresa K says:


  22. Cyndi T says:

    This could help me (sigh) get back on track with my New Year’s resolutions!

  23. Marianne says:

    Count my heart in!

  24. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for the story, it’s clear you loved your Oma a lot

  25. Dot says:

    Touching story and a great prize pack!

  26. Belinda says:

    It makes me realize that I need to heart my heart more.

  27. Tiffany says:

    I desperately need an eating makeover with the HSF dietician!

  28. Ruby B says:

    Nice prize, nice story. I realize I should take care of my heart more.

  29. Ro says:

    I’d love to win this for my dad.

  30. harjit says:

    This message is a good reminder to be kind to our hearts. Losing my Mom to heart disease was and always will be one of the greatest pains in my heart.

  31. Tracy says:

    Sorry about your loss. Thanks for bringing awareness to this disease.

  32. Cassie says:

    What a heartfelt post. Heart attacks and strokes have affected my family too. Thank you for bringing more awareness.

  33. TylerIngram says:

    My dad recently had a heart attack and is now recovering from a 6-bypass heart surgery. Even though he had such an evasive surgery he feels better than he has in years.

  34. Burcu says:

    I like their commercials

  35. db says:

    Our young daughter raised $85 doing Jump Tope for Heart – she is ( and we are) so proud of her acheivement!

  36. * not entering the contest *

    Beautiful post, Rebecca. And so important. I always love the posts where you talk about your Oma.

    My family also has a history of cardiac disease and I myself should be more careful (one of the reasons why I go to the gym every day and why I play volleyball is because of my family’s cardiovascular history).

  37. kelsey says:

    nice prize!

  38. Rebecca says:

    I would really appreciate some guidance about health and nutrition. So sorry for your loss. I lost my grandma to a stroke and I still think about her almost every day.

  39. Linda says:

    I am sorry for your loss. A wonderful article.

  40. Randy says:

    Guidance and smart tips for eating right and promoting healthy action so important and reinforcement to help those to still don’t get it.. I like it.. very good cause. The give away would be very beneficial. Thanks for caring. Sorry for your loss.

  41. Leslie says:

    We need to promote more heart-healthy action

  42. Gina says:

    It’s never too late to start being heart healthy!

  43. laurel says:

    I am 51 and could use a bit more help with some health tips and info thanks!/tomgirlbc/status/169276028064247808 tweeted and shared and googled

  44. Annie says:

    sorry for your loss. lost my father when i was 10 due to heart disease.

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