Press Release

Rochette partners with U. of Ottawa Heart Institute

Canada's Joannie Rochette won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics just days after a heart attack claimed her mother's life.
Canada's Joannie Rochette won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics just days after a heart attack claimed her mother's life. (Getty Images)

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(04/22/2010) - OTTAWA, CANADA -- Olympic figure skating heroine Joannie Rochette is teaming with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) to help change the course of heart disease in women.

Rochette, the Olympic bronze medalist, captured the world's attention and admiration with her poise and courage, winning her Olympic medal just four days after her mother, Therese, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. Her mother succumbed to a mix of genetic and lifestyle risk factors, a circumstance that is far more common in women than is generally recognized.

Heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death for women. There are important differences in the awareness, prevention, understanding and treatment of heart disease in women compared to men. For instance, women do not always exhibit the classic signs of a heart attack and their symptoms can be more diffuse, increasing the odds of having a heart problem misdiagnosed.

Through the Heart Institute, Joannie will help re-shape women's attitudes and understanding of heart disease, increase prevention measures and fuel heart research with a view to ultimately ending the disease. On Saturday, April 24, Joannie will be at the Heart Institute to launch a campaign to motivate these developments, in part by helping to raise funds for projects related to women's heart health.

"Like everyone else, we were completely captivated by Joannie's character and poise in coping with the loss of her mother under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable," said Dr. Robert Roberts, President and CEO, UOHI. "By providing her voice and support to this cause, we in the medical community hope to make major inroads in reducing the impact of heart disease in women for years to come."