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, MLA Kirkfield Park
April 17, 2013

Heart and Stroke Month

Mr. Speaker, every year, February marks Heart Month in Canada. Today, heart disease and stroke take a life every seven minutes and 90 per cent of Canadians have at least one of the risk factors that can lead to these chronic diseases. No one is safe from heart disease or stroke—conditions that cause 30 per cent of deaths in Manitoba every year and that can be devastating not just to individuals but to entire families.

There is much we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The Heart and Stroke Foundation, thanks to its dedicated volunteers and donors from across Manitoba and Canada, continues to make a real difference in reducing death and disability from heart disease and stroke. They are leading the way in promoting prevention of these diseases through healthy eating, physical activity and better lifestyle choices—because Manitobans have the power to “Make Health Last” by addressing controllable heart and stroke risk factors in their daily lives.

This past February, people across Manitoba got involved in promoting Heart Month. Heart and Stroke staff and volunteers held “tag days” in Safeways across the province, collecting donations and distributing resources on heart health. Volunteers also visited homes across the province to raise funds and promote healthy heart choices. Two of these hard-working individuals are in the gallery today: Mrs. Dorothy Sawchuk has been a volunteer with Heart and Stroke for 11 years, and Mrs. Lila Lewis for 25. I am proud to say that they, along with 44 other Heart and Stroke volunteers, are from Kirkfield Park.

The Foundation also works to increase the number of people who survive cardiac arrest. Research shows that using a defibrillator can increase survival rates by 75 per cent, and so they are partnering with the Manitoba government to make sure that automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, will be installed in high-traffic public places such as community centres and airports over the next year.

Mr. Speaker, by promoting heart and stroke awareness, we can create communities that make the healthy choice the easy choice. Working hand in hand, we can make a real difference for all Canadians.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker