What is DIL Walk?

DIL Walk is an acronym for Do It for Life (DIL) and is more than just a walk. DIL Walk is about Wellness, Access, Linkages and Knowledge (WALK). Co-created by Dr. Anmol Kapoor, Cardiologist and Raman Kapoor, Registered Dietitian, DIL Walk is a way of life.This primary prevention approach targets individuals before they have a heart attack by providing access to resources (medical, community, print resources, testing and self-management), further lessening the burden on the health care system. Numerous research studies have shown that prevention is more cost effective than chronic disease management.

DIL Walk is an established grassroots initiative to encourage members of Calgary’s South Asian community to take charge of their own health. It started as a community based walk in June of 2011, where over 250 attended to learn about their individual risk of heart disease, and today is a registered charity that has touched the lives of people both locally, nationally and internationally. Through a grand vision created by its founders, boundless energy provided by hundreds of volunteers and creative and innovative ideas. DWF is committed to increasing the awareness of heart disease across the life continuum. With a focus starting on children, where prevention begins, to youth and into adulthood, the Foundation focuses on primary care prevention strategies to help individuals, lower their risk of heart disease. This community organization is highly deserving of the City of Calgary Community Advocate Organization award and in this letter I will highlight some of the reasons why.

Since its inception the DIL Walk Foundation has touched the lives of over 15 000 people, across communities and ethnic boundaries, have been touched through educational activities, and has saved the health care system over $8 million (this number is a rough estimate, based on the number of DIL Walk participant seen by specialists, GP’s, Dentists, and Allied Health professionals, not billed to AHS, over the past 5 years). DIL Walk is committed to bridging the gap between community and local health professionals, while building capacity at a grassroots level. Heart Disease is universal and affects everyone. DIL Walk Foundation wants to help target people before they have a heart attack by providing access to resources (medical, community, print resources, testing and self-management) and teaching them about their risks for heart disease. Although the messaging of the foundation is very general and can be applicable to all population groups, the DIL Walk Foundation has a specific focus on two vulnerable populations: women and South Asians.

The Foundation also holds a number of events throughout the year, including the annual DIL Walk. At this, participants get free heart health screening, and an opportunity to learn how to reduce their risk of heart disease by meeting with a variety of health professionals, and take home valuable resources. The annual DIL Walk is to educate, abolish language barriers and highlight the importance of working together. DIL Walk is an opportunity for communities to come together, that may not have otherwise, and share values that are important to help understand the community and to build a healthier, more vibrant communities around them. With over 150 volunteers and partners such as the Mosaic Primary Care Network, along with multiple community organizations, participants have an opportunity to gain a strong understanding of you their heart hearth. Local health professionals including specialists, family doctors, and allied health professionals volunteer their time and provide a wide variety of classes in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and English, ranging in topics such as High Blood Pressure, Physical Activity, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Sleep Apnea, Diabetes, and Stress Management for the participants. In addition, participants have their blood pressure checked, blood sugar checked, waist circumference measured, as well complete an activity and sleep apnea screen. This information is entered into a personal passport for the participant to take home. It was encouraged that participants show the passport to their physicians to further help them self-manage their health, and promote wellness. This day then ended with a walk. The DIL Walk events have over 500 people in attendance each time. The event helps explore the endless connections between diverse cultures and their approaches to a healthy vibrant community, it is a true example of building capacity in Calgary’s communities.  

DIL means HEART in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. DIL Walk is INCREASING AWARENESS of heart disease. DIL Walk is BUILDING CAPACITY in community members. DIL Walk is TAKING CONTROL of DIL or HEART Health. DIL Walk is finding LINKAGES in the community. DIL Walk is SHARING experiences. DIL Walk is walking to increase PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. DIL Walk is EDUCATION by local health professionals. DIL Walk encourages you to support RESEARCH. DIL Walk explains MY RISKS for heart disease. DIL Walk is sharing RESOURCES. DIL Walk is FOR THE COMMUNITY by the community.

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