Stories of the heart by the people of Ottawa. Heartbeats of Ottawa will continue throughout the year, with all the photos and stories shared on our social media pages & exhibited at our annual fundraising dinner & dance: Dining with the Hearts.
“Two years ago, I was at a bakery and the man in front of me had a heart attack. My friends and I were eating lunch there, and we gave him CPR until the ambulance came so he was okay. It was the first time that I experienced the fragility of the human heart… We learn about it in class and it seems so powerful, but then something can happen and it can go wrong. That’s why heart health is important to me.”
"Do you have any experiences with heart health?" "Not directly, but volunteering with the Heart Institute in the Day Unit, I got to see a lot of cool stuff there, but it’s sad a the same time because I got to see a man who was so sweet, it was actually my first angiogram, and his heart was just destroyed. It puts things into perspective, you see how important the heart is. He lived his life just never realizing how important it is to take care of his heart and he ends up there, on a hospital bed, and it’s too late… Prevention is huge, you never want it to be too late."
"Do you know anyone affected by heart health?" "I know someone and that person is me. I have a congenital heart disease. There’s a hole in my heart between the left and right ventricle where the blood wasn’t mixing so they wanted to block that hole with a patch. My scar is 9 inches and I thought I was the only person ever out there to have one, but then I went to this event ‘Cardiac Kids’ and they benefit Sick Kids, where a whole group of kids with CHD came out and I was thought: Okay… There’s actually people out there, right? So now I don’t feel so bad, because I was actually ashamed of it before and embarrassed as a kid."
"I have been dealing with a heart problem for most of my life since I was a kid. There actually hasn't been much done about it, they don’t really know what was wrong so I don’t have that much experience with the medical side of it. It’s kind of just, untreated… I should probably be more active but mostly I try to eat better, it’s my major change. You know that feeling, when you get up too fast and feel really dizzy? That’s kind of what it was for a long time so everyone was like “oh yeah that happens to everyone”, but that would happen to me at any time."
"My grandma had a heart attack in her late life so that definitely affected my entire family. It brings awareness especially for me because I was a little younger and it made me really interested in what happens to the body, how the heart works, so it kind of put that spark in me to find out: what went wrong and why certain people don’t have heart attacks. And I feel like awareness is where it’s all at."
Oui, particulièrement mon grand-père. C’est a cause de lui que j’ai fais la levée de fond. Quand je l’ai apporté à l’Institut de Cardiologie, j ‘ai vu les livrets qui demandaient pour des fond pour acheter du nouvel équipement. J’ai vu les patients et je me suis dit: C’est le temps de re-donner à la fondation et Après avoir fait une entrevue avec CTV news, on est retourné à l’Institut de Cardiologie pour aller voir le ‘mobile cart’ qu’on a pu acheter et il y avait beaucoup de patients qui nous on dit que du nouvel équipement peut sauver leur vie.
"Metaphorical sense? I think the most important thing is: Companionship, because you can’t fix a broken heart alone. I feel it’s important to have a support system, some family members, friends, even some profs I know are open to talking about illnesses and broken hearts. It’s important to have a good social community that you can turn to in those situations, if you need them"
"A lot of students are eating in ways that are obviously not healthy… And it’s not because they don't want to! But some students try to wait until they’re older, then they think: “oh I’ll deal with it when I’m older.” but prevention needs to start now and ways we can do that is promoting healthy eating and physical activity just like they used to do in elementary schools where gym was a mandatory course"
"My aunt, she had heart health issues so she had to have a pacemaker put in and she’s now on the Jean Fuller Red Dress Charity which is the woman’s branch of the Heart Institute so she inspired me to want to go into advocating about heart health and this is the main branch so I decided to come here"
“Heart is, love. Life. Breath” Do you have any experiences with heart health? “My uncle had a surgery. On the flip side, my friends a cardiologist who started this thing called Global Heart Day to promote healthy hearts. Often we use the heart as a symbol but we don’t think of our own hearts as much.”
I worked with a doctor in a hospital. I did rounds with her, but I didn’t really encounter people that had heart issues. But, my grandmother died of an aneurism and sometimes I feel like if I would’ve known more, I probably could’ve helped her. I think that’s when it really hit me: people can just leave you like that and you have no clue when it’ll happen. I wanted to acquire more knowledge to help people so that I can make a difference. That way, no one else has to go through what I went through because it was really painful…
"Distract yourself, time is going to heal all the wounds but unfortunately, getting that time under your belt is going to be the hardest part, so just distract yourself until, oh, suddenly, a month has passed. You’ll realize after that month, you’re feeling like it’s still hurting, but it’s hurting less…"