This morning, more than 20,000 volunteers and fundraisers gathered to run, walk and ride the main arteries in and out of downtown Toronto in an effort to raise awareness and funds for heart health. Now in its’ 29th year, the annual Becel Heart & Stroke Ride, supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation, raised nearly $7 million for life saving research, health promotion, and advocacy efforts.
Personally, this was my sixth time participating in the ride, and having witnessed both an uncle and grandfather suffer from heart health challenges, it certainly will not be my last. This year I was joined for the first time by my brother-in-law and father-in-law, who were both riding in honour of a family member and avid cyclist who recently suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, this family member is now on the road to recovery and we’ll hopefully see him at the Ride for Heart next year.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the Ride for Heart by the numbers:
- 5 and 10 kilometers participants ran or walked on the Gardiner Expressway
- 29 years the annual Ride for Heart has been held in Toronto
- 25, 50 and 75 kilometers cyclists rode on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway
- 80 percentage of premature heart diseases and strokes that are preventable by adopting healthy behaviours
- 5,000 runners and walkers that participated in the event
- 15,000 cyclists that participated in the event
- 66,000 Canadians that die each year from heart disease and stroke
- 1.3 million Canadians living with heart disease (estimate)
- 7 million dollars raised at this year’s Becel Heart & Stroke Ride
- 2.5 billion heart beats during an average human lifetime.
- 20.9 billion annual cost of heart disease and strokes on the Canadian economy