It was a long haul for paramedics pushing a stretcher from Stayner to Midhurst on Friday.
Beginning bright and early at 7 a.m., on Friday morning, a group of Simcoe County Paramedics embarked on a 31-kilometre journey along Highway 26, to raise awareness and money for cardiac care in the county.
The annual walk, called the “Paramedic Push,” is now in its second year and aims to raise awareness and funds for the Advance Cardiac Care program at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie.
Last June, paramedics pushed a stretcher from Midland to Midhurst and raised just under $4,000.
This year, paramedics decided to push a stretcher more than 30 kilometres from Stayner to Midhurst, collecting donations in a sharps container along the way.
Paramedics hope to raise close to $10,000 this year.
And, while lead paramedic Janel Perron, says donations are much appreciated and gladly accepted, the walk is also about raising awareness and highlighting the importance of having an advanced cardiac care unit closer to home.
According to Perron, currently, a person suffering a heart event in Simcoe County can be taken to Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, nearly 60 minutes away.
However, that care is not easily accessible for everyone in the county. If patients live outside of the parameters, they are first taken to a local hospital to be stabilized before being transported for cardiac care at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
“If we saw someone at home having a heart attack, and they met parameters, we could take them to Southlake, but we couldn’t access that from the whole county. So once we heard RVH was starting up this program, it became important to us to help make it a reality. Hopefully last year and this year we’ve done that, not only with raising funds, but also by raising awareness,” he said.
According to Selma Mitchell, operations director for the Simcoe Muskoka regional heart program, with the new Advanced Cardiac Care unit opening in the near future at the RVH, residents across the county will have better access to vital cardiac care.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without community support to raise the $25 million that we needed to bring up advanced cardiac care,” she said. “But I think when it comes to Simcoe County Paramedics, there’s a special relationship there that goes above and beyond the generating funds.”
“Simcoe County has always supported our cardiac and heart patients. Really, their level of commitment goes back to 2006 when they worked with Newmarket to bypass patients,” she said. “So really, their level of commitment to cardiac has gone above and beyond for a number of years.”
And although she was feeling very tired after the 31-kilometre walk, Mitchell said it was an honour to support the paramedics in their push Friday, and was happy to take part in an event that helps to raise awareness for cardiovascular-related illnesses.
“We want people to know that advanced cardiac care is coming and obviously cardiac is a disease that is the No. 1 killer — cardiovascular-related illnesses — and so it’s something we all need to be aware of and pay attention to and support organizations to be able to have those services locally in our community,” she said.
Those interested in donating to the cause can do so online.
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