Supporting Healthy Hearts

Left to Right: Mary Nucci, Cindy Sakiyama, Dr. Lai, Bryan MacKay, Pat Carli and Volunteer Coordinator Judy Comrie (Members not pictured: Gavin Nelson (chair), Michael Giardetti and Karen Ranta)

If you live in Northwestern Ontario there is a greater chance that you or someone you love is at risk for heart disease. The Thunder Bay District has:

  • 50% higher rate of heart disease than the rest of the province
  • the highest death rate from heart disease in Ontario
  • the highest rate of heart disease in Canada
  • over 70% of adults in Northwestern Ontario have at least one major risk factor for heart disease

Northern Hearts is a non- profit charity whose goal is to reduce the high incidence of cardiovascular disease in the region and create a community environment for people with cardiac disease to share and support each other. Their mission is to promote and educate the community on healthy lifestyles in an attempt to reduce the risk of cardiac disease. In an effort to accomplish their objectives, Northern Hearts organizes two types of events every summer and fall.

  • “Talk with Doc” – is a lecture series that invites local doctors to give talks on their area of expertise to help educate the public on health related topics and
  • “Walk with doc” –a program that invites local physicians and organizations to host short, social walks in the evening to help build and maintain healthy and active lifestyles.

Talk with Doc: Cannabis and Your Heart

The most recent “Talk with Doc” featured Dr. Chris Lai who offered an informative and entertaining presentation on the impact that Cannabis can have on your health, and particularly your heart, to a packed room at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on Thursday, May 23, 2019.

Following the presentation Dr. Lai answered a number of questions from the audience regarding medical applications of cannabis to their individual health concerns as well as some detailed medical explanations to medical professionals in attendance.

The “Talk with Doc” series will continue in the fall of 2019 in an effort to provide up-to-date and informative presentations by health care individuals in the community.

Walk with Doc

The Fort William First Nation Health Centre hosted their third annual “Walk with Doc” on Wednesday evening, May 22nd on top of Mount McKay in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles amongst Fort William First Nations residents. Dr. Chris Lai was the “Doc” in attendance and walked with the group of hearty individuals to the Mount McKay scenic lookout despite the rather cool temperatures.

Sabrina MacLaurin, Community Health Representative at the Health Centre worked in conjunction with Northern Hearts to host the event and was in attendance to complete the walk and award attendance prizes to a few of the lucky participants.

Dr. Chris Lai along with Northern Hearts board members and volunteers are lacing up their shoes to participate in the “Walk with Doc” series taking place from June 3rd to June 28th on Monday to Thursday nights (7-8pm) at Birch Point Park at Boulevard Lake. The walks are free and feature different health care professionals each night along with various host organizations supporting healthier lifestyles and cardiac care in Thunder Bay. Attendance prizes are offered to participating walkers.

For more information on current or future “Walk with Doc” events or to hear about the next “Talk with Doc”, please refer to the organization’s Facebook page