Category Archives: foundation

Everything related to the foundation and its events

David’s Story: DMAC Dangler

In 2004, his father died of a heart attack and four years later, his mother lost her battle against breast cancer. In 2009, he would also lose his life: David Macdonald died at the tender age of 21 of bacterial infection at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The Macdonald’s are survived by his two brothers, Matt and Jon.

“It’s been six years and it’s still very difficult,” says Matt Kassner, his childhood friend. “I met David when we were in grade 1. We played hockey together and watched the Sens games. He was such a big Sens fan, he painted his basement red and had jerseys and Sens flags up everywhere.”

To Jamie Fitzgerald, David was a great teammate and a wonderful friend. “There was something about David that always put you in a good mood when you were with him,” he says. “His smile was infectious.”

“I met David when we were 2 years old,” says Kensy Jones, “what I remember most about Dave, is how he was always willing to go the extra mile to make someone else happy. He didn’t care how much time it took or what the circumstances were, he wanted to treat you like family, because that’s how he saw you. It was a special trait he got from his parents, and they were proud to see it in all of their boys”

David Patterson met David in Grade 7 and he will always remember how David made everyone feel welcomed and at ease.  “I thought he had a unique ability to make everyone around him feel welcome and at ease, that is until I met the rest of his family. I still remember coming home after playing road hockey in front of his house and emphatically asking my parents if we could move to their neighborhood.”

To commemorate his life, Matt, Jamie, Kensy and David, four of David’s good friends started a small campaign in 2010 with the selling of bracelets. The campaign was so successful, they launched a golf tournament two years later called the DMAC Dangler.

The tournament has grown ever since greeting over 150 golfers each year, and raising over $34,000 in support of the Heart Institute.

“We do this tournament for two reasons: To celebrate David’s life and give back,” says Matt. “It’s an amazing and positive day. It’s also a small high school/family reunion as David’s family from out of town, his two brothers and our friends from high school all come out and play.”

They are looking forward to another great day on June 26th at The Manderley Golf Course! Join the fun! You can purchase tickets to The DMAC Dangler Golf Tournament right here!

See you on the green!

Christiane’s Story: Christiane’s Bridal Gives With Heart

Tucked away in a little strip mall in Orleans, Christiane’s Bridal has been making women’s dreams come true with customized wedding dresses and gowns. She also alters suits and pants for her male customers.

“I see all kinds of people,” says Christiane Makanda. “I have quite a lot of male customers too”.

For the past 20 years, she’s been sewing for members of her community in Orleans.

Her latest effort is a small fundraiser for the Ottawa Heart Institute. Christiane will design and sew a red dress for the lucky winner of her special raffle. It doesn’t need to be a wedding dress: it can be anything. More importantly, it is custom-made and tailored to your liking.

Purchase a $20 ticket and the winner will receive a custom-made dress by Christiane’s Bridal. All proceeds will go to the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Why the Ottawa Heart Institute?

“I have high blood pressure. It runs in my family. I’m doing this fundraiser to raise awareness of heart disease among African women. In Africa, we don’t have much knowledge about heart health. It isn’t well understood. We suffer from it without changing our habits.”

She admits that when she learned that she had high blood pressure, she didn’t think much of it. She is now taking her heart health into her own hands.

“I’d like to live a few more years. This is why I am doing this fundraiser. If the Heart Institute can help, I am throwing my support behind their cause”.

Buy your ticket at her store at 2701 St. Joseph Boulevard, in Orleans.

February is Heart Month! Support the Ottawa Heart Institute!

John’s Story: Yogatown Gives with Heart

by John Fritz, Manager at Yogatown

A few years ago, I stopped breathing in my sleep. I jolted up from bed and clutched my heart. It felt as if someone was running a sword in and out of my chest and I didn’t know what to do. I ended up going through a few tests at the hospital that night, but there were no conclusive results. Wanting to stay active without putting myself at risk for heart problems, I booked my annual checkup with my family doctor.

With a little digging, she noticed I had a heart murmur. We ran some tests and found out that I also had an arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat). At this point, I was referred to The Heart Institute where I spent the next two years going through tests to find the root of the problem. While I was there, the staff was incredible. Being the youngest person among many patients is humbling. The staff always stayed positive and gave me the encouragement to keep living my life. During my time there, I got to see one of the top cardiologists in Canada, Dr. Calum Redpath, who reassured me that I could continue my passion for hot yoga and that my heart would be okay.

Following my healthy diagnosis, I returned for my annual check-up at my doctor’s office. She had me do some deep breathing exercises (identical to the exercises I practice in yoga) and discovered that my breathing was correcting my heartbeat’s rhythm. My yoga practice was healing my heart and soul at the same time.

I am truly grateful for all the excellent work done by The Ottawa Heart Institute. This fundraising event is just one of the many ways for me to say ‘thank you’.

Visit Yogatown, our proud Community Champion for Heart Month. Donate today

Royal Oak: Have a Heart Ottawa!

by Royal Oak

Drop by Ottawa’s favourite local pub and donate to a worthy cause.

Since 1980, the Royal Oak has been pouring perfect pints and serving quality pub food to the citizens of Ottawa. During these 35 years, the 12 Royal Oaks have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities. This February, as part of the annual pub’s fund raising program, the Ottawa Heart Institute has been selected as the benefactor.

Between the 1st to the 14th of February, staff at each pub will be selling paper hearts and heart shaped cookies to support the cause. That’s not all! The Royal Oak Pub Group Corporate Office has committed to match 1 for 1 funds raised at the twelve pubs over the 14 day period.

“Our company is excited to assist in raising funds for heart-focused medical research” says Jonathan Hatchell, Royal Oak Pub Group’s CEO. “The Institute’s work touches many people in our community and it needs to have the support from local businesses such as ours.”

Visit Royal Oak, our proud Community Champion this February. Donate at

Charles’ Story: Goodfellow Cleaners Give with Heart

by Goodfellow Cleaners
Heart disease and other heart-related issues have touched many of Goodfellow Cleaners’ customers, friends and families. That’s why Charles Goodfellow, the owner of Goodfellow Cleaners and his team are ready to give with heart.

Giving back to the Institute is personal.

“I lost two very close friends in the past few years due to separate heart-related issues,” Charles says. “Both of these guys were in good shape and under the age of 46. They played hockey, went to the gym One was a marathon runner. Their deaths happened without any warning. Their deaths hit me hard since they came right at the same time as I was just diagnosed with a heart condition, a tricuspid valve.”

One of his employees’ newborn was born with heart complications and some of his clients’ children have also had their own experience with heart disease. Goodfellow Cleaners offer its’ support to the Heart of Champions annual golf tournament and recent Spooktacular Halloween Bowlathon for CHEO. The event raises money and awareness for children born with congenital heart disease who will one day transition to cardiac care at the Heart Institute.

Little hearts need big hearts - Charles Goodfellow lent his recent support to the Heart of Champions' Spooktacular Halloween Bowlathon for CHEO. Photo credit: Jeff Gilchrist

Little hearts need big hearts – Charles Goodfellow lent his recent support to the Heart of Champions’ Spooktacular Halloween Bowlathon for CHEO. Photo credit: Jeff Gilchrist

All of these elements combined make Charles and his team of 25 employees both sensitive and active in reaching out to customers impacted by heart health. It’s also the reason they are ready to offer up discounts to those who donate during ‘heart month’.

“I’m fortunate that I have received the very best of care and monitoring from everyone at the Heart Institute. They are amazing. Now I’m actually in the best health of my life – but they still monitor me. I have such respect and a deep commitment and devotion to doing whatever we can as a business to help.”

Give with heart and get a discount!

Donate to the Heart Institute and receive 10% off your dry cleaning and shirt laundry services at all Goodfellow Cleaners’ locations for the month of February. Please bring in your proof of donation (any amount) to get your discount. *This offer excludes repairs, alterations, cleaning of suede, leather and cleaning of carpet and drapes.

Donate today!

Cathy’s Story: Your Body Knows Best!

Many women don’t know they are at risk for heart disease and few of them know what to do if they are. Luckily, Cathy trusted her heart when she needed it the most.

For Cathy, everything in life is cyclical and once you receive you must give back, but chest pains were not what she had in mind. Originally from Newfoundland, Cathy was moving to Ottawa with her husband for work in January of last year. She is a registered nurse by profession and psychological health safety consultant by trade. Cathy was also an active rower and did yoga on her spare time. During the move, she began to experience chest pains.

“I just thought it was stress from the big move,” she said “Although I had lived and worked in the Middle East for work for almost two years, this was the first time I was leaving Newfoundland with my family, so I attributed the pain to that. The pain would not stop, but I really didn’t think it had anything to do with my health.”

The pain was so excruciating, she spent her New Year’s Eve at a hospital in Newfoundland. Rather than celebrating her 50th birthday with friends as planned, she had a cardiac catheterization. While the procedure was successful, it did not diagnose the blockage.


Cathy Murphy Santosha Yoga

Cathy Murphy

January was particularly hard for Cathy. She was in a new city and she wasn’t feeling any better. She woke up every night with excruciating pain. She thought her heart was to blame. The specialists who tracked her health thought otherwise. One specialist thought the pain might be in her shoulder. After all, she had already undergone a cardiac procedure and Cathy was a rower. Following her doctor’s guidelines, she saw a massage therapist and acupuncturist who could take care of her arm. Deep down, Cathy knew that wasn’t the problem.

“When the pain persisted, my chiropractor didn’t think the issue was my arm and neither did I,” she said. “I do a lot of yoga and I work in mental health. My job and this hobby has me in tune with my body. I knew my body was telling me something, so I acted on my convictions. I went to The Ottawa Hospital to get myself checked.”

Cathy felt some pain in the evening and drove to The Ottawa Hospital the next day; but, each time she went through those doors, her chest stopped hurting. This happened three times. The problem was significant enough that her charts were brought to Ottawa from Newfoundland. On her second visit, the nurse who followed her case begged her to come back.

“I won’t forget this. She said, ‘You need to keep coming back! Every time you get the pain, I don’t care how often you get the pain, please come back.”

After the third visit, she was finally referred to the Ottawa Heart Institute. Just as she was about to undergo a stress test, her chest pain emerged again, this time at the right place and the right time. An angiogram revealed that Cathy had a 95 per cent blockage in her left main coronary artery. It was a matter of life and death. One unfortunate incident could have caused a cardiac arrest, or worse, death. The medical staff performed a cardiac catheterization and gave her a stent.

Cathy would feel the pain re-emerged one year later and was right back at the Ottawa Heart Institute. Although a scan revealed no blockages, they discovered that Cathy suffered from variant angina: a genetic spasm in the heart that can induce blockages. It feels like you’re having heart pain when the spasm happens.

Cathy can’t row anymore but she has taken up yoga and even finished her yoga teacher training. She’s now teaching at Santosha Yoga in Westboro.

“I believe that in life there is a circle. I believe that when I receive, I must give back. I was given a new life and I must complete the circle by helping others,” she explained.

These days, Cathy offers a yoga class for former cardiac patients called Gentle Yoga for Your Heart. The class is specifically tailored to people who have had cardiac episodes. It follows the guidelines of our cardiac rehab program.

“Whenever you feel something, you need to trust your gut,” said Cathy. “Your body is wise and your muscles have memory of how it should feel. We need to listen to it and give it what it wants.”

Did you know?

Your family history of cardiovascular disease is a strong indicator of your personal risk. A positive family history involving first-degree relatives is generally associated with a twofold increase in the risk for CVD.

Visit to learn more about the Centre. Start the conversation!

Francoise Makanda Heart Hand

Giving Tuesday: Françoise Makanda and Selva Trebert-Sharman

Who?: Françoise Makanda, Communications Officer at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation

Q: Why do you give to the Ottawa Heart Institute?

A: I give to the Ottawa Heart Institute because I truly believe in its mission. Anyone who works within these walls is a world-class expert in their respective field. I have seen a few procedures and I am always fascinated in the ways in which the physicians and nurses carry themselves. They are never anxious (or don’t appear to be) and more importantly, they are always ready for anything.

I never worry for the patients. I know they are in good hands. If anything happens, you are in the right place.

I contribute with a monthly donation.

Q: How have you been affected by heart disease?

A: A few members of my immediate family have been affected by heart disease. I know I am at risk…unfortunately.

Q: Why should anyone give to the Ottawa Heart Institute?

A: The Ottawa Heart Institute is so close to unlocking some of the deepest secrets the heart might hide. A single contribution, whatever it may be, can actually make a difference. There are a lot of great things happening here. Think about it, you could be part of many firsts in cardiac care and research!

Selva Trebert Sherman Heart Hand

Who?: Selva Trebert-Sharman, Manager, Legacy Gifts at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation

Q: Why do you give to the Ottawa Heart Institute?

A: When I first came to work at the Heart Institute, I worked at the Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre.  That was my first glimpse of the impact the Heart Institute has on our community—not just on the patients but on their families.  The need was incredible and the gratitude and heartfelt respect that the patients and their families had for the Heart Institute—for the care they received —was inspiring.  I was so proud to be working at the Heart Institute.

Q: How have you been affected by heart disease?

A: When I moved to the Heart Institute Foundation I was excited at the prospect of helping those same patients, their families, and a grateful community realizes their wish to give back: That’s how and why I became a donor myself.  Since then, heart disease has struck even closer to home. My father-in-law and my cousin both suffered massive heart attacks.  My husband and I decided to increase our support by including a gift to the Heart Institute in our will.  It was important for us that our support would outlast us and help future patients living with heart disease, possibly even our own children.

Q: Why should anyone give to the Ottawa Heart Institute?

A: What continues to be one of the best parts of working at the Heart Institute?  Everywhere I go, just about everyone I meet, as soon as they learn where I work, has a story to share about how the Heart Institute has touched their lives.  That really never stops being amazing to me.

Share your story by answering the following question: Why do you give to the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation?

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