Saving Lives

By Tiffany Auvinen

View all articles by this author

A long-time volunteer of the Heart Stroke Foundation in Victoria, Helen Lee enjoys giving back to the organization. Helen’s father died of a heart attack. Her late husband suffered for many years with heart disease and passed away three and a half years ago after triple bypass surgery. His entire family had a history of heart disease. In addition, Helen’s mother passed away after suffering a stroke.

In fact, one in three people will die from a heart-related disease, and only one in eight women realize it’s their biggest health risk. Profoundly impacted, Helen is aware of the astounding heart facts.

“I feel that through the efforts of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, great strides are being made in the form of research,” she says. “Many of my family members, in-laws included, would probably be alive today with all the advances that have been made as a result of this research. Regular exercise and activity, companied with a healthy diet can promote a healthier, stroke-free lifestyle for [everybody].”

As part of her active lifestyle, Helen enjoys playing golf three to four times per week during the peak season. “I love to walk and, over the past years, I have taken part in stretch and strength programs at local recreation centres,” she says.

Getting involved, volunteering and keeping busy doing activities she enjoys also adds to Helen’s balanced life. “I am very fortunate that I do have good health and am able to do these things,” she says. “Volunteering at the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been a very rewarding experience for me. The staff are efficient, capable, and fun to work with, and genuinely appreciative for any tasks that I perform. I look forward to my four-hour shift each week.”

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based organization, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application; the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, every seven minutes someone dies from heart disease and stroke in Canada. Now, more than ever, the Heart and Stroke Foundation needs volunteers.


For more information about volunteering, visit

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a leader in setting the standards for CPR techniques and instruction. To find out about local courses, call 1-888-473-4636 or the local office.




Thousands of Canadians die from heart attacks every year because they don’t get medical treatment quickly enough. Learn to recognize the signs of a heart attack, in order to react quickly to save a life.


* sudden discomfort or pain that does not go away with rest

* pain that may be in the chest, neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back

* pain that may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness or pressure

* in women, pain may be more vague

* chest pain or discomfort that is brought on with exertion and goes away with rest

* shortness of breath/difficulty breathing


Sweating/cool, clammy skin


If you experience any of these signs:

* CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times.

* Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.

* If you take nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.

* If you are experiencing chest pain, chew and swallow one adult 325 mg ASA tablet (Aspirin) or two 80 mg tablets. Pain medicines such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) do not work the same way and will not help in the emergency described above.

* Rest comfortably and wait for the ambulance to arrive.

This article has been viewed 1660 times.


Showing 1 to 3 of 3 comments.

Good for you Helen. We lost a son to Heart disease at age forty. It also runs in our family, but because it skipped a generation we were not as prepared as we could have been, our son was a smoker and it contributed greatly to his demise. Young people think they are invinceable. Please pay tribute to our son and tell your young ones Heart and Stroke strikes at any age. Check ups are important.

Posted by Tannis Reinhardt | January 25, 2010 Report Violation

Thank you Tiffany for doing such a great job with this article. The messaging you presented was excellent. Helen is a huge part of our team and we appreciate her willingness to share her story.

Posted by Connie Bergeron | January 6, 2010 Report Violation

Wonderful article, Tiffany,with lots of important information.
Good work, Helen, volunteering is so important to all of us.

Posted by Jennifer Lock | January 6, 2010 Report Violation

Post A Comment

Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, or antisocial behavior such as "spamming," "trolling," or any other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our "terms of use". You are fully responsible for the content you post. Senior Living takes no responsibility for the views and opinions of members using this discussion area.

Submit Articles

Current Issue

Search For Articles


Subscribe To
The Magazine