Toronto (Feb. 11, 2005) - February is Heart Month and Toronto Rehab's Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program is hosting its 2nd Annual On Track to Recovery Cardiac Walk-a-thon at its Rumsey Centre. Eddie Sabat, a current patient of the cardiac program and a recent heart transplant recipient raised the most money in walk-a-thon pledges last year, close to $4000. The program played a critical role in Eddie's recovery after his heart transplant. Eddie will participate in the event again this year with hopes of exceeding his own fundraising record.

"Toronto Rehab's cardiac program put me back on track...it helped me focus on exercise and eating right," says Eddie. Now his attention is focused on the World Transplant Games being held in London, Ontario this July.

On Saturday, February 12, 2005, Eddie will join other patients and graduates of Toronto Rehab's cardiac rehabilitation program and their families and friends in this indoor walk-a-thon in support of cardiac rehabilitation research. The event encourages participants to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, good eating habits and identifying measures that will reduce their own risk of heart disease.

An estimated eight million Canadians, approximately one in four people, live with some sort of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, disease of the blood vessels, or risk factors for stroke or heart attack.

"Comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention saves lives. It reduces the incidence of subsequent cardiac events and the need for re-hospitalization. Cardiac rehab also improves the overall quality of life for heart patients after their cardiac event," says Dr. Paul Oh, Medical Director of Toronto Rehab's cardiac rehabilitation program.

Patients who participate in cardiac rehab programs reduce their risk of dying by 25% in the next three years. Yet fewer than 20% of all potentially eligible cardiac patients utilize cardiac rehabilitation services.

Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death and disability among Canadian women. The number of deaths from cardiovascular disease is just about equal for Canadian men and women. Moreover, women are under-represented in heart health research and prevention studies, which hamper their ability to deal with heart disease.

"I was anxious to start the program to regain my level of fitness & it restored my confidence," says Catherine Singer, a current patient of Toronto Rehab's cardiac rehab program. Catherine recently underwent bypass heart surgery; she is now planning a bike tour of Vietnam in celebration of her successful recovery from heart disease and heart surgery. The cardiac rehab program played an important role in getting Catherine back on track with her diet and exercise and gave her the motivation she needed to finally commit to such an adventurous trip.

Catherine is supporting Toronto Rehab's cardiac walk-a-thon by taking pledges for her upcoming bike tour. Her goal is to bike 35-55 kilometres a day. "If I can do this trip, I will totally feel that I no longer have any limitations. If I can do this, I can do anything I want to do. I will feel totally recovered."

For more information on how to participate in the 2nd Annual On Track to Recovery Cardiac Walk-a-thon, please visit www.torontorehabfoundation.com. To sponsor a walk-a-thon participant or to make a direct donation to Toronto Rehab's Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention program, please call the Toronto Rehab Foundation at 416 597 3040.

The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, one of Canada's oldest and largest property and casualty insurers, is supporting this year's On Track to Recovery Cardiac Walk-a-thon.

About Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) is at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today- rehabilitation science. As a fully affiliated teaching and research hospital of the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab is Canada's largest provider of adult rehabilitation services, complex continuing care, and long-term care. Toronto Rehab is advancing rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research, education and patient care.

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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