Tyler Woloshyn and Venessa Thorsen founded Students for Heart Health, which is now participating in JUMP IN, a national fundraiser for women’s cardiac health and care. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)

Tyler Woloshyn and Venessa Thorsen founded Students for Heart Health, which is now participating in JUMP IN, a national fundraiser for women’s cardiac health and care. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)

UBC Okanagan grads start community group focused on heart health

Students for Heart Health is now fundraising for women’s cardiac health and care

Two recent UBC Okanagan graduates are hoping to get people moving and thinking about their heart health.

Venessa Thorsen and Tyler Woloshyn, both UBCO biology graduates, were inspired to start a community group called Students for Heart Health. Their goal is to inspire people to spread awareness and build a supportive community about heart health.

Through their new group, the duo is involved in a national initiative called Jump In, hosted by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, making them the first BC group to participate.

Jump In is an annual fundraiser, with the money raised going towards cardiac disease research and care for those who need it in Canada. Woloshyn, Thorsen and their community group are taking the Jump In challenge by moving for 30 days, raising funds, and spreading the word about heart health.

Woloshyn said he was inspired to learn more about heart health after losing his mother to a sudden heart attack in October 2020. She was only 52 years old.

“Since then, we’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the community and nationally and The Heart Insititute was a good match with us,” he said.

Thorsen added that more than anything, they want Okanagan residents to join in, get moving in any way they can and be more mindful of their cardiac health.

“To this day, heart health is still the number one killer of women, internationally and not just in Kelowna or Canada,” she said.

“This is a really important thing. It’s just a small set of actions that can be preventative and can help us form healthy habits.”

Woloshyn and Thorsen said you don’t have to work out for long periods of time to maintain heart health. Any movement helps, from taking a walk to doing the laundry. If you want to do more, you can go for a run or a hike.

To donate to Jump In, visit Woloshyn and Thorsen’s fundraising page.

More information on Students for Heart Health, including future events and fundraisers, can be found here and here.

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twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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