Every year, we hold a Ride Rally to celebrate our VIP riders. They can pick up their ride kits, meet fellow riders, and feel inspired by our panel of event experts and motivating speakers. This year, we were very lucky to have Dr. Bayley from the Toronto Rehab Centre take the podium, as well as VIP rider and survivor, Nikki Martyn-Capobianco. Cindy Taber, EMS Superintendent, survivor, and first-time rider speaks about her experience at the event.
When I arrived at the 2013 Ride for Heart Rally, it was like arriving at a movie premiere from the 40′s! What a great venue. I felt the energy as soon as I walked in. After receiving a warm welcome from volunteers, I walked up the stairs and was met by photographers (also dressed in a 40′s theme) ready to take my picture. Talk about a VIP experience.
From there I was sized for a cycling jersey and received an event bag filled with thoughtful items from our generous sponsors. Also interesting was an educational display on Atrial Fibrillation where volunteers checked my pulse and provided valuable information.
Next I made a stop at the Ready to Ride Panel. Nigel Gray gave me great advice on training for the ride. Jennifer Sygro, dietitian and sports nutritionist, provided her expertise on fuelling ours bodies. And Leonardo de Melo shared his tips on fundraising. (Thank you for sharing your story, Leonardo).
As the room filled with fellow riders, I thought about their stories and why they ride. There was a large timeline on the wall with milestones from the 1950′s to today. As I read each one, I thought about my family history, my own health journey, and about how so many lives had been changed by research. For example, my cousin was one of Dr. Mustard’s first patients in the early 60′s. I thought about my own mother’s open-heart surgery. And I reflected on the advancements in my field of work, paramedicine. I know that as everyone read the milestones, they reflected on their lives too.
Tom McAllister, COO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario welcomed everyone, and introduced stroke survivor, Nikki. Her story was very empowering. As I was listening and writing notes, I felt a connection because I was writing the very words and thoughts I had used and experienced as a survivor. Nikki’s story filled us with hope and courage.
She explained to us how the ride represented her journey and how far
As I ride I will think of our journeys. I will think about how our ride can bring us to the next milestone in research. I will remember my cousin Judy and my mother Colleen, as we all remember those we have lost.
As a survivor who has recently embraced a healthy lifestyle I will say, start where you are. We all contribute in our own way by changing and improving our own lives, and the lives around us. We are connected, we are community, we ride together.
I look forward to meeting you. I will be in the blue EMS/PAD challenge
James Sallis, Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of California, is on a mission to convince governments to build healthier neighbourhoods. A mission that has recently earned him McGill University’s Bloomberg Manulife Prize.
Sallis believes that sticking to a fitness regimen takes more than just willpower; it takes an environment that is conducive to physical activity. And the hundreds of studies he has conducted have proven him right: people living in communities where schools, stores, offices and recreational facilities are accessible by foot or bicycle tend to be leaner than those who must travel by car to get to them.
Says Sallis, “In our sprawling suburban neighbourhoods, which have been designed to favour automobile traffic; sidewalks, safe bike paths, parks and playgrounds are often few and far between. It’s not surprising that people who live in these communities are far more likely to be overweight and prone to serious health problems related to inactivity.”
Beyond his research, Sallis works tirelessly to effect change. On his recent trip to Canada, he met with members of McGill’s academic community, and also presented his findings to a large group of City of Toronto officials, made up of those working for the departments of public health, urban planning, transportation and parks and recreation.
So what can we do? Sallis urges us to lobby our local governments for bike lanes, parks and sidewalks in neighbourhoods where they are lacking. Parents can become active in what types of physical activities their children are involved in at school. And while he stresses there is no one solution to the problem of inactivity, he does say, “by making our communities more accessible to exercise, people will once again be able to make physical activity part of their daily life.”
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a proud partner of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize. This prestigious award, offered annually by McGill University, recognizes an academic whose research has made a significant impact of the health and well-being of a broad spectrum of the population.
Don’t miss your chance to win a pair of (2) field-level tickets to a 2013 Toronto Blue Jays game*, generously donated by the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. The prize also includes a $100 restaurant gift card to Real Sports Bar & Grill.
How YOU can win!
Increase your fundraising balance by $250 and receive 1 ballot
The contest begins on Monday, February 25th and runs until Monday, March 11, 2013 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 12th. Click here for contest rules and regulations.
*Please note: Subject to availability. Not available for the 2013 Home Opener, Canada Day or games versus the Boston Red Sox & New York Yankees. Please be advised that this Certificate will not be extended past the 2013 regular season.