Builder recalls safety program’s namesake ‘Michael’



Shown here are, from left: Hugh Heron, president of Heathwood Homes and co-Founder of The MIKEY NETWORK; Gordon Krantz, Mayor of Milton; Kathy Wallace, general manager of child development at YMCA; Catherine Scott, director of Milton YMCA.


Heart disease is a troubling concern for many people living in Ontario, so this February, Heathwood Homes and The Heron Group of companies are introducing MIKEY Month.


Run by The MIKEY Network, a non-profit organization working to educate people about heart health while raising public awareness, MIKEY Month will help the organization raise funds to donate public access defibrillators to be placed in locations across Ontario.

“We’re increasing the awareness of the MIKEY Network in the GTA with numerous events taking place in Milton, downtown Toronto,” Heathwood Homes president Hugh Heron said. “A number of newspapers are helping us and putting out the message of MIKEY Month.”

Defibrillators — referred to as “MIKEYS” by The MIKEY Network — are used to administer an electric shock to victims of cardiac arrest if emergency personnel do not arrive within minutes of the attack. More than 90 per cent of people in cardiac arrest require a shock to convert their heart rhythm to a normal.

About 17 to 20 per cent of cardiac arrests occur outside the home. In many cases, by the time paramedics arrive with a defibrillator, a victim has less than a five per cent chance of survival. By placing MIKEYs in public areas of the province, victims of cardiac arrest can receive a shock promptly after the attack, increasing their chances of survival by 50 per cent.

There are 6,500 victims in Ontario each year.

MIKEY Month will be promoted with a public awareness campaign at all Heathwood and Heron communities across the GTA. Donations can be made at a special MIKEY Heart Wall located at every sales office as well as the Heathwood Homes décor store. Visitors who make a donation will have their names placed on the wall.

Donations of $15 and over will receive a tax refund. So far, more than $500,000 has been raised.

The MIKEY Network was created by Heathwood Homes and The Heron Group of Companies in memory of former Heathwood Homes partner Mike Salem who died of sudden cardiac arrest in the summer of 2002. Salem was playing golf in Muskoka when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

“The MIKEY Network was probably started that weekend and we tried to do something for Michael in his memory,” Heron said.

“Michael liked everybody and everybody liked Michael. He just brought a rare sunshine to the office every morning.”

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