Lindsay woman on track to be a top Canadian fundraiser for Heart and Stroke

By William McGinn

Karen McArthur looks over her Heart and Stroke pledges at her Lindsay home. Photo: William McGinn.

Longtime Lindsay resident Karen McArthur is finishing up her 20th year of canvassing for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and has raised more than $12,000 this year, surpassing her previous personal record of $7,100 from 2021.

Since 2002, McArthur has single-handedly raised over $49,000 for research breakthroughs in health and medicine for heart conditions.

February is Heart & Stroke’s annual Heart Month. Starting in 2002 of that month, McArthur began keeping herself busy every Heart Month, spending hours going door to door, being on the phone, and picking up donations. She does this on behalf of her parents, older sister and brother, who all passed from heart-related diseases.

Last year, McArthur was second place in raising money as a Heart & Stroke canvasser in Ontario and the third in all of Canada. In Ontario, she was only behind Dr. Anthony Graham, an honorary board member of Ontario’s Heart & Stroke Foundation itself. The data so far shows the likeliness of a similar outcome this year. Though McArthur said she doesn’t care about placements, this outcome will make her the biggest donor to Heart & Stroke in Ontario and possibly all of Canada who is independent from the industry.

A friend of McArthur’s, Garry Schubert, told the Advocate that Karen has established “a pretty impressive reputation in her commitment to this fundraising effort every February.”

“Usually by the end of January her supporters and I will hear from her as a reminder. I’m very proud of her work.”

Another friend, Valmay Barkey, founder of Community Care in Kawartha Lakes, said McArthur has an “indefatigable spirit” towards her cause. “We all can have a visceral connection to a particular cause,” Barkey said, “but it takes more than that. It takes, even when you’re tired, to still do the ask. I am in such admiration of Karen’s commitment in spite of complications she’s faced. She has shown what a community of small contributions can do for a total.”

A memory from last year that warms McArthur’s heart is when she asked a man for a donation for Heart and Stroke, who readily accepted. That same man later came by to Reid’s Valu-Mart where McArthur has been employed for 26 years. He let her know he had to get a stent since he last saw her, which is a tube a doctor places in an artery or duct to keep passages open and restore the flow of bodily fluids. As he was having the procedure, he was thinking of her and her work.

“The amazing thing about this new record,” said McArthur, “is a lot of small businesses just haven’t been able to give this year but so many independent people have still made it possible for me to reach this goal. It gives me so much pleasure I’m doing this in memory of my family members.”

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