Give with heart

February was Heart Month. Most of us know someone who has had some form of heart disease but many of us know little about what that means… and that's a problem! Heart Month is a great time to learn more about the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease. It’s also a great time to support great institutions like the Ottawa Heart Institute (OHI): A world-class facility located right here in Ottawa. OHI is Canada’s largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre treating over 80,000 patients a year. The theme for this year’s campaign was: One Heart Healed, Many Lives Saved. I was once one of those 80,000 patients as I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post so it was a perfect opportunity for me to give back to the people and the place that saved my life. So… Ottawa Foodie Girlz signed up to be a community champion during heart month. Community champions focus all of their Heart Month fundraising efforts in support of the OHI. We wanted to make it easy for people to donate so we decided on an online social media campaign via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This is how we raised money:
  • Once registered, we were able to share a link to our personalized fundraising page. Each donation would be linked to us so that we could keep track. A big thank you to: Denis d., Frank C., Judy N., Jeannette P., Lianne J, Astra G., Orest F., Ray R., Mary L, Suzanne K, and the Canadian Science Publishing Staff.
  • We partnered again with our friends at Fiazza Fresh Fired. They created a feature #givewithheart pizza. The pizza had a peach and mango chutney base, fiazza cheese blend, roasted red peppers with roasted chicken or jerk tofu and topped with cilantro after fire. For each pizza sold, they donate $2 to our #HeartMonth campaign. Thanks to Ashley (General Manager at Fiazza) for organizing it with us and pulling it all together so quickly
  • As an added incentive, we contacted a few restaurants and asked them to donate $50 gift certificates to be used for draws every Friday in February – a chance at a special gift for anyone who donated. A big thank you to Local Public Eatery Landsdowne, SOCIAL, and chef Michael Blackie of NeXT for their donations. 

  • We also took the opportunity to have a raffle for a foodie basket and had a bake sale at our office.

I’m so very happy to report that Ottawa Foodie Girlz raised a total of $1025!

As a community partner, we were invited to the OHI for a reception and cheque presentation this past Saturday. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it at the last minute due to delays in my travel plans. I missed my flight on the way back from a vacation in Las Vegas (post coming soon). I did however make it back for the Telethon yesterday. I’ve volunteered a few times before but this time was extra special with the money that we had raised. I was assigned to the on-camera phones for the duration of the telethon. To my surprise, I was seating in the front row and quickly released that I’d probably be on TV! It was a great experience; I sat among some amazing people. The gentleman sitting beside me had been doing the telethon since 1984, and the only time he’s missed the telethon was in 2006 because he was recovering from his SECOND heart transplant. There were so many stories and reasons why people were volunteering; it was all very touching. Four hours quickly passed and by 7pm the Ottawa Heart Institute had raised over $7.7 MILLION dollars.  I’ll definitely be back next year for more…

Heart Institute Telethon