Shirley Bond’s Big Bike team rules not only northern B.C., but all of the province.
The team raised more money for the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation than any other in the province – $11,695. They needed only be the top fundraiser in northern B.C. to earn the right to have an automated external defibrillator in a location of their choosing.
They chose to give it to the North Central Seniors Association and the device will be located in the College Heights Baptist Church.
For Bond, the choice of supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation is a personal one.
“In four days from now, six years ago (her husband) Bill was at St. Paul’s having open heart surgery,” Bond told a gathering at the seniors’ association Friday. “He had been very ill and we waited to get a spot at St. Paul’s.”
That spot was at Christmas.
“Bill said to me at the time ‘it’s the best Christmas presents we could possibly ask for,'” said Bond. “Bill and I spent Christmas at St. Paul’s Hospital and Heart and Stroke was incredibly helpful and I can tell you Bill has a new lease on life … That has given renewed interested in riding (on the Big Bike) and supporting the work of Heart and Stroke.”
Bond and her team have participated in the Big Bike event for 10 years, raising more than $44,016.00 during that time to support lifesaving research and programs.
Shaun Rice is the captain of Bond’s Big Bike team and also rides for a personal reason. Shortly after he and his wife Lisa had their first child in New Brunswick, Shaun got a job in Smithers. About the same time, they found out their son had a heart defect.
They had a choice of having open heart surgery done in Quebec or at B.C. Children’s Hospital. Since they were moving to B.C., they chose the latter.
“On our way out for my job, we dropped off at Children’s Hospital and he had open heart surgery,” he said. “Within a week he was out. Heart and Stroke is pretty important to us too.”
Their son is now 27 years old and Shaun and Lisa have two grandchildren.
“I am so proud of my team and co-Captain Shawn Rice for the hard work they did to help us achieve this goal,” said Bond. “Shawn’s son had heart complications at a very early age and supporting Big Bike is a way for the Rice family to show their gratitude. We are delighted to choose the North Central Seniors Association as the recipient of our AED.”
“We’re so honoured to accept this AED and we’re grateful for the continued support. This is an important addition to our location and goes a long way to ensure our space and community is now safer in case of a cardiac arrest medical emergency,” said Hennie Cook, President, North Central Seniors Association.
In BC, a cardiac arrest happens every two hours. Bystander response is critical because chances of survival drop 7% to 10% every passing minute without CPR or defibrillation. However, performing CPR and using an AED immediately can double or triple chances of survival.
AEDs are small, portable devices that shock the heart into a normal rhythm—it will not deliver a shock unnecessarily. AEDs can be used quickly and safely by the general public before emergency services arrive.
About Heart & Stroke
Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. Over the last 60 years, we have invested more than $1.45 billion in heart and stroke research, making us the largest contributor in Canada after the federal government. In that time, the death rate from heart disease and stroke has declined by more than 75%. www.heartandstroke.ca