Victoria Hospital foundation fund drive targets the #1 killer of women

Not-Okay-(Heart-disease)Governments can’t pay for all health care services. In this vital, pioneering effort aimed at women’s heart disease, the hospital needs funds to support it in a too-long-neglected task.

Most of us will experience a health concern at some point in our lives – either personally or affecting a loved one. When that happens, we want to know that the highest quality of health care and services are available and accessible right in our home communities.

For this reason, the role of the Victoria General Hospital Foundation grows in importance every day. It is a simple and very real fact of life that governments can no longer pay for all the health care services, facilities and technology we require. By raising funds to invest in innovative medical equipment, research and capital projects, the Victoria General Hospital Foundation bridges this gap and meets the growing and complex health care needs of patients and families in its community.

In fact, the Victoria General Hospital Foundation – known affectionately as the “the small hospital foundation with a big heart” punches well above its weight, investing in projects with significant community and worldwide health impact – and it is proud to partner with CJNU this April to tell you all about it.

It will come as no surprise to you that the Victoria General Hospital Foundation has invested in new equipment and facilities to support life-saving care, diagnosis, treatment and healing of the sick for years. Or that it supports the in-hospital comfort and care of patients and families in their time of need through such facilities as the Buhler Cancer Centre and Miracle Garden.

It may however surprise you to learn that the Victoria General Hospital Foundation also invests in projects that expand access to health care for patients, families and caregivers in Manitoba. For example, its 24/7 personal response service, Victoria Lifeline, also ensures that people of all ages across the province can lead active and independent lives at home.

Last fall, the Victoria General Hospital Foundation also launched a community fundraising campaign to raise $1 million for its newest project, For Her Heart’s Sake. For Her Heart’s Sake is the first ever gender-specific program in North America to prevent and reduce women’s heart disease. Heart disease is now recognized as the #1 killer of women worldwide, accounting for more deaths than all cancers combined – and the most significant health threat facing Manitoba women today.

This project is at the forefront of innovation in the prevention and care of women’s heart disease – and it’s goal is simple and clear – to stop the women we love – mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends, from dying and suffering from women’s heart disease.

For decades, heart disease has been characterized as a “man’s disease” and investments in research have focused almost exclusively on men, resulting in countless unnecessary deaths and disabilities. Why? The red flag symptoms of women’s heart disease, which often present differently, are overlooked, misdiagnosed and under-treated by professionals, and dismissed, ignored or unnoticed by women.

True story – Laurette, a heart attack survivor, quit her job as a bus driver because her energy was so low over a two-year period she was worried about falling asleep at the wheel and harming the kids. Like many women, Laurette’s red flag symptoms, like unusual fatigue, were masked; she was undiagnosed at the emergency ward and sent home without treatment.

Dale thought it was a bad winter for asthma, so she put on a scarf and carried on. Her red flag symptoms, like shortness of breath, were masked, and by the time she sought help, her heart was 99 per cent blocked – and she was having a heart attack.

For Her Heart’s Sake is going to change the odds for women by funding three critical and urgent community health initiatives. She’s NOT okay, a community awareness and education campaign will reveal the red-flag symptoms of women’s heart disease, empowering women and others in our community with the information they need to help prevent and reduce future incidents of women’s heart disease. A First STEP Cardiac Care Program for Women will also provide urgent treatment to survivors of life-threatening cardiac events in Manitoba who have previously been unable to receive treatment. And, a three-year clinical research project will produce new, gender-specific, ground-breaking research critical in the diagnosis and treatment of women’s heart disease here and around the world.

Listen in to CJNU this April to hear more about For Her Heart’s Sake and other community health initiatives funded by the Victoria General Hospital. Donations in support of For Her Heart’s Sake are gratefully accepted. The Victoria General Hospital Foundation offers a full range of strategic, charitable giving options. To make or plan your gift, please contact the Foundation at 204-477-3513 or visit TheVicFoundation.ca.

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