Annual Big Bike event to raise awareness for heart diseases and strokes

Raise awareness for heart diseases and strokes at the 26th annual Big Bike event this spring.

Bikers will take a 3.5-kilometre ride on a large bike to raise awareness and funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The foundation operates and owns 13 Big Bikes across the country and has raised $55 million for research since 2012.

“Every seven minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease or stroke,” said Indrek Koppel, Heart and Stroke Toronto and York Region community fundraising coordinator. “Big Bike is a way we can publicly demonstrate our mission to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery from heart disease and stroke.”

Heart diseases and strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the country. They have also become the leading cause of hospitalization.

Koppel says prevention is key and up to 80 per cent of early heart diseases and strokes can actually be prevented through lifestyle choices. There are heart attack and stroke signs that people should look out for. For strokes, an easy way to remember is using the acronym FAST.

F (face): is it drooping? A (arms): are you able to raise them? S (speech): do you have slurred speech or are saying jumbled sentences? T (time): if all these symptoms are occurring, call 911 immediately. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. The earlier you recognize the signs, the earlier you’ll be able to help restore normal blood flow and save a life.

Rides take place in Markham May 9 and 14, in Unionville on May 16 and 30 and in Stouffville on May 15.

Visit heartandstroke.ca for information.

Feature photo: Riders participating in a Big Bike event. Heart and Stroke Foundation photo

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