Jump-start heart awareness and win

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has launched an innovative awareness campaign called "I Love This". Join the campaign and stand a chance to win a R10 000 experience of your choice. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) has launched an innovative awareness campaign called "I Love This" – it is one of the biggest heart and stroke awareness campaigns launched in the country yet and aims to raise funds for the Foundation’s national community programmes, support research and save lives. Heart disease and stroke are the number one non-infectious killers in South Africa.

Leading the campaign is six of South Africa’s most popular celebrities who will act as ambassadors – they are Gareth Cliff, Mark Pilgrim, L’loyd Cele, Simba Mere, Jo-Ann Strauss, Saskia Falken and Michelle Garforth-Venter. The campaign was kicked-off by Cele, who took a brave leap from the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to show his support and encourage people to make the most of their lives.

“It’s something I believe is quite important, to look after your health and live to the fullest. This is a good, worthy cause and it encourages South Africans to join hands and help take a stand against the biggest killers in the country,” said Cele after his 100 metre adventure off the top of the stadium.

The South African public can buy the campaign’s “I Love This” stickers at Clicks stores around the country from 01 March and at Life Healthcare hospitals in Cape Town. Each sticker costs R5 – members of the public can then place their sticker on something they really love, take a pic, and upload it on the campaign’s Facebook site to stand a chance to win a R10 000 experience of their choice. There is also competition running where the public can guess what Gareth Cliff will place his sticker on in March.

'This disease does not discriminate'

Cliff said that that this is one issue he really feels strongly about in South Africa.

“I'm always going on about fat people – some fat people think I hate them. I don't. If its not due to medical reasons then I can't believe what people are doing to themselves – I've decided to do something instead of just talk and I've accepted an invitation from the Stroke and Heart Foundation to become a patron. I discovered
that heart problems – globally – are THE leading cause of death. In South Africa, heart disease is on a dramatic rise – more South Africans die of heart problems and stroke than of all the cancers combined. This disease does not discriminate, not by race, culture, or wealth,” said Cliff.

“So why do I get upset about it? – because I give a damn about our nation's health,” he added. “It's the same reason I got angry with government – not because I hate them but because I care about where we're going. Being overweight and obese is the biggest risk to your heart, so I'm going to be talking about this – even if it makes fat people uncomfortable. I'll be helping the Heart and Stroke Foundation to save lives – and maybe your life or someone close to yours will be saved.”

According to Dr Vash Mungal, CEO of the HSFSA, the campaign is innovative in that it is addressing the public not only through traditional methods but also through social networks.

“We are making the most of the social networks like Twitter and Facebook to help get the message out there. We, through this campaign, hope South African’s come forward to honour those lost to cardiovascular disease, celebrate the survivors, remind loved ones to take care of their health, and ultimately celebrate life and what
they love,” said Dr Mungal.

Dr Mungal added that as a nation we need to establish a culture of consciousness and take responsibility for our health and of our children. All it takes is awareness and a few changes to ensure quality of life free of pain and suffering, for ourselves and our children.

'Reduce the death rate'

“We all do it, or at least have done it: a take-out burger for dinner after work instead of cooking, a cigarette or two with a friend over some drinks at the bar, TV all night and sometimes all day on weekends with sweet snacks for movies and sports. This is common. Just being a bit more conscious of our bad habits and taking a few steps to address them will help us reduce the death rate appreciably in South Africa.

“As consumers we also need to harness our power and demand more nutritious foods and be hyper vigilant when loading our shopping trolleys, read food labels and cut out products with too much salt, saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sugar, and choose those which are high in fibre. As parents we must demand that food
companies and retailers become equally responsible and stop marketing to our children,” she said.

Visit the Foundation's "I Love This" page: http://www.facebook.com/ilovethis.sa or go to www.ilovethis.co.za.

- (Image: Celebrity and singer Lloyd Cele and CEO of the HSFSA, Dr Vash Mungal Singh)

- (Health24, March 2011)

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