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UZOOMA OKEKE AND MAURO BIELLO TO KICK OFF HEART WEEK

MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 9, 2006— The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) will launch its third annual Heart Week on Thursday, February 9 (9:30 a.m.) at General Vanier Elementary School (4555 Buies) in St. Léonard. Last year schools raised more than $20,000.

Coordinated by the Heart of Life Fund, with the support of The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), the program involves children wearing red on a designated day during the week of February 13 to 17 and making a donation.

Mario Bentrovato,a member of the Heart of Life Fund and an EMSB parent , heads the campaign. He notes that one child in 100 is born with a heart defect. His young daughter is among those included in that group. The Heart of Life Fund wishes to increase awareness of the problem among children with normal and healthy hearts. The Heart of Life Fund is an organization associated with the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation. At this time, it is fund-raising to strengthen the Pediatric Heart Failure Program by expanding into the field of Pediatric Mechanical Heart Assist and Pediatric Heart Transplantation iñ a new program that is unique in Canada.

Official Kickoff

At the official kickoff, this year’s Heart of Life Ambassadors will be introduced. Mauro Biello is the captain of the Montreal Impact soccer team while Uzooma Okeke is a star tackle for the Montreal Alouettes. The General Vanier gym will be packed with 400 students attired in red. This occurs at a critical time for the Montreal Children's Hospital, which is fighting to remain a full service pediatric health centre. The Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services recently put a proposal to the Children's Hospital of the MUHC and to Ste-Justine Hospital on pediatric complementarity. This proposal has serious consequences for patient care, for the pediatric teaching program of the McGill Faculty of Medicine, and for pediatric research.

Contact: Mario Bentrovato
514.910.8935



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca