(The Sacred Heart High School charity hockey game between the graduates and the teachers took place on February 17, 2023. The students, teachers, linesmen and referees who participated were happy to return to the ice again in support of Heart Month. Photos: Kaitlyn LeBoutillier)
February 1st marks, among other things, the beginning of Heart Month. This month is important to a multitude of people as heart disease and heart conditions affect many Canadians and their families. According to the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS), approximately 2.6 million Canadians live with ischemic heart disease (IHD), the most common type of heart disease.
In a statement on February 2, 2023, the federal Health Minister shared that heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, following only cancer. Heart Disease touches the lives of almost every Canadian in one way or another, so during Heart Month, it is encouraged to take the opportunity to focus on the efforts we can make to improve our heart health.
One can make many lifestyle changes to improve heart health, such as; eating healthier, getting proper sleep, being physically active, managing stress and limiting alcohol intake. Simply educating yourself and others on the causes of heart disease or donating and supporting charities and funds such as the Heart Institute or Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund can help decrease the risk of you or someone you know suffering from a heart condition.
As much as there is that you can do to fight the risk of heart disease, there are biological, environmental, and socio-economic factors that also influence your risk of heart disease. That is why it is also essential to support various areas of heart health research and support those currently dealing with the impacts of heart disease. Heart disease may not be fully preventable but there are many ways to help advance treatments and research.
Locally, Sacred Heart High School hosted their annual Grads vs Teachers charity hockey game in support of the Heart Institute. The school’s student council organized the buy-out hockey game where students donated two dollars to get out of class and travel next door to the Cardel Recreation Complex to watch the friendly hockey game. The competition took place on Friday, February 17, and over 300 people were in attendance. The hockey game wasn’t just fun for the fans though, Olivia Verge, Captain of the Varsity Girl’s Hockey Team, “really enjoyed having the opportunity to play” and said, “It was great to see so many students come out to watch, especially to support such a great cause. This will definitely be one of the memories I’ll look back on fondly as a part of my senior year!”
In the game, the players played two periods of competitive pickup hockey. Grade 12 student, Sean Scissons opened up the scoring and the grads added on to extend their lead to 5-0 at the end of the first period. However, the teachers weren’t going down without a fight. With the help of a few penalty shots, they started their comeback in the second period, making the score 5-3. Their efforts ultimately wouldn’t be enough and they fell 7-5 to the grads. That will definitely lead to some serious bragging rights for the students!
Sacred Heart raised about $550 for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI). The UOHI was founded in 1976 and is now the sole, independent provider of specialized cardiovascular care for the Champlain Local Health Integration Network and is home to over 1 million people. UOHI maintains a clinical staff of over 700, including physicians, nurses, technicians, and other health professionals. In addition to standard care, approximately 100 clinical trials are underway at the institute at any time. The Institution is incredibly important in local treatments of heart disease as well as national research.
Although the kids were happy to be out of class, the impact of the charity game was not lost on the students. Many students’ families or friends have been or know someone who has been impacted by heart disease. “The overall [School] Spirit was great and it was so nice to see so many students contribute to the Heart Institute,” says Troy Arambulo, Grade 12 Student at Sacred Heart High School and Student Council Co-President. “The Grads vs Teachers event was a blast! The student’s section was super packed and it was much closer than I thought,” he added. Being such a prevalent issue in our country, it meant a lot to the students to be able to give back to the cause while also enjoying a friendly (but competitive) hockey game.
During the month of February and after it, remember to learn more about the risk factors for heart disease and what can be done to prevent it. Making one simple change in your lifestyle or encouraging someone else to do so could make a big difference in the long run.