In preparation for this year’s Walk of Life event on May 14, I got to chat with Barbara Kennedy, the Executive Director of the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada.
As part of their newly-branded mandate introduced two years ago, Kennedy was brought into the charitable organization to advocate cardiac prevention and education across Canada.
Prior to the re-branding, the organization was known as the Canadian Cardiac Rehabilitation Foundation (CCRF), which Barbara says holds a negative connotation.
“Rehab has the connotation of drugs and alcohol, of having something wrong with you,” said Kennedy.
She credits President Leo DelZotto for introducing the aspect of disease prevention and education, which can encompass anything from learning about your family’s history to maintaining a healthy diet.
Since then, the re-branding has raised the profile of the organization, contributing to last year’s tremendously successful Walk of Life campaign.
With a 50 per cent increase in attendance, a record 1,500 participants took part in the Toronto event which raised $450,000. Across the country, over 5,600 people participated to raise close to $1 million.
Kennedy says she’s hoping to match last year’s success at this upcoming Walk of Life, which will be held at Ernest Thompson Seton Park located at Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave E.
“We’re hoping to have a really good turnout because it’s a family-friendly event where you can have fun and learn,” said Kennedy. “We have Whole Foods providing breakfast, on-site demonstrations for defibrillators, and the Toronto All-Star Big Band providing music.”
The new 5 km run will be introduced as an option alongside the traditional 3 km and 5 km walk. A slew of prizes will be offered for categories such as “top fundraising school team,” “top corporate team,” and “top individual fundraiser.”
Kennedy says the neat prizes this year include Toronto Maple Leafs hockey tickets, Toronto Blue Jays Baseball tickets, fitness club memberships, and gift certificates for fine dining.
For those who raise $1000, they’ll receive a wireless power mat charging system courtesy of Tridel, one of the national sponsors. The device can charge four different devices at the same time.
“The prizes this year are really neat and in line with all that Tridel exemplifies – state of the art innovations and eco-friendliness,” said Kennedy.
In addition to the charging system, iPod nanos, iPhone 4, and a Reebok Tomahawk Exercise Bike are available as prizes for top donors.
For those who’d like to find out more about the event, please check out Walk of Life, and for those already registered to participate, take a couple minutes to stop by the Tridel booth on Saturday!
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