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In a heartening display of community engagement and commitment to women’s heart health, a coalition of dedicated volunteers from various organizations came together to host two impactful events aimed at raising awareness and providing education on heart disease in women. The activities were spearheaded by the Institute of Cardiac Sciences, in collaboration with the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, the Youth BIOlab Jeunesse, and the University of Manitoba.

The first event took place on February 13 at the Albrechtsen Research Centre atrium, where St. Boniface Hospital staff were treated to lunchtime activities and informational booths. This provided a valuable opportunity for engagement and education within the hospital community.

The second event, a public gathering held on Sunday, February 25, at the Dakota Fieldhouse in St. Vital, drew an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 130 participants. The day was filled with a variety of engaging activities designed to promote heart health awareness. From an energetic Zumba session to informative CPR demonstrations by St. John’s Ambulance, attendees had the chance to actively participate in learning about heart health. Additionally, interactive experiences such as examining a real pig heart and exploring heart tissue under a microscope offered valuable insights into ongoing research at St. Boniface Research.

Committee chair, Dr. Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin, expressed her satisfaction with the success of the inaugural event and her hopes for its expansion in the future. “From the very beginning, it was clear that we had a great team of passionate individuals who were committed to making this event amazing. It was an absolute privilege to work with them and I hope we can do an even bigger event next year.”

Participants were also able to join in on either a 2 km or 5 km indoor walk, and test their heart health knowledge at the trivia spin wheel. The event concluded with a Speakers Corner session moderated by Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum, who led an informative panel of experts and patients with lived experiences, including Dr. Shuangbo Liu, Dr. Shelley Zieroth, Dr. Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin, Jackie Ratz and Stevie Goller.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the collective effort of numerous volunteers and sponsors. Their contributions, whether through coordinating activities, providing expertise, or offering support, were instrumental in the event’s success. Special thanks to: Kaitlyn Archibald, Cathy Atwell, Dr. Lorraine Avery, Robert Blaich, Iain Brown, Anjelica Bodnaryk, Kelly Codispodi, Mudra Dave, Lily Fjeldsted, Karen Fowler, Stevie Goller, Jacqueline Hay, Karen Hiebert, Steve Jones, Tara Keeping, Tricia Lake, Alex Miller, Kenzie Miller, Kyra Nowicki, Melanie Ogden (Hope the Heart mascot), Jackie Ratz, Brian Ratz, Val Steeves, Lisa Thomson Stifora and family, and Amanda Youka. 

Moreover, the event received generous support from sponsors including the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Heart & Stroke Canada, Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, Heart Life Foundation Canada, Canadian Women with Medical Heart Issues, St. John’s Ambulance, Dakota Fieldhouse, and Sobey’s St. Vital. Their contributions underscored the importance of collaboration in promoting community well-being and heart health education.  

See you next year!