Support Cardiovascular Care with a Valentine's Share a Heart Bouquet!

Published Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Support Cardiovascular Care with a Valentine's Share a Heart Bouquet!

Support Cardiovascular Care with a Valentine’s Share a Heart Bouquet!

by Graham Strong


Looking for that last-minute Valentine’s Day bouquet this Heart Month?

Three local florists will help you show your love in two ways with the Share a Heart Bouquet! Not only do you get a beautiful, one-of-a-kind bouquet for your someone special, you are also supporting local cardiovascular care.

“We give flowers because we care about someone,” said Bryan MacKay, who organized the fundraising event four years ago. “Giving flowers with a cause makes it twice as nice.”

Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers Thunder Bay, Vaillant Florists and Rollason Flowers and all offer their own version of the Share a Heart Bouquets throughout the month of February, making them perfect for Valentine’s Day. Specially arranged bouquets are $30 with 10 per cent going directly to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation to support cardiovascular care in Northwestern Ontario.

MacKay first launched the Share a Heart Bouquet fundraiser in 2019. His father died of heart disease when MacKay was only 25, so raising money to help prevent Canada’s number one killer seemed like an obvious choice, he said. Raising money for local cardiovascular care was especially important to him.

“I wanted to try and help make a difference. I felt having access to local cardiovascular care through the Our Hearts at Home Cardiovascular Campaign would benefit a significant number of people in our community and region,” he said.

Daniela Cristoforo and Phyllis Lento, co-owners of Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers Thunder Bay (475-7673), said that they too wanted to support local healthcare.

“When Bryan came by the shop to tell us his idea for the Share a Heart Bouquet, we immediately got on board,” Daniela said. “Helping patients so they don’t have to travel for cardiovascular care really appealed to us.”

Phyllis said that Grower Direct usually has a choice of two bouquets available, created for that particular holiday. “Usually we use the longer-lasting flowers, but other than that the variety of flowers will change so there is always something different.”

Josy Vaillant at Vaillant Florists (345-4245) said that for her and her business partner Jim, cardiovascular disease is very personal. Both sides of the family have heart issues, Josy said, including her father Sergio Ricci, who died of congestive heart failure, and Jim’s father Reg Vaillant, who passed away in 2015.

“We are very proud to be involved with this campaign,” Josy said. She too underlined the importance of closer-to-home cardiovascular care, especially during the COVID pandemic. “People are unable to travel to get care, or their care is postponed. It’s important to have everything available here.”

Josy said their bouquet this Valentine’s will be a colourful mix of daisies, gerbera, carnations, baby’s breath and greens, cut and wrapped.

Debbie Drebit, manager at Rollason Flowers (623-0513), said that they will offer a Designer’s Choice for their bouquets, also choosing colours and flowers that match the holiday.

"For Valentine's, we will be doing a nice mixture of red, white, and pink cut flowers decoratively wrapped in heart cello tied with ribbon," Debbie said.

She said that Rollason Flowers likes the fact the money raised goes directly to local cardiovascular care. “We love that the Share a Heart Bouquets help keep families together, bringing more services here so that patients don’t have to travel for care. It’s so important to have your family around you during treatment and when you’re recovering.”

Learn more about February’s Share a Heart Bouquets and the florists who created them at:


flowers-3 flowers-2 flowers-1


1) Left: Rollason Flowers photo caption:
Debbie Drebit from Rollason Flowers

2) Middle: Vaillant Florists photo caption:
Jim Vaillant from Vaillant Florists

3) Right: Grower Direct photo caption:
Phyllis Lento, Daniela Cristoforo, and Rose Mackenzie from Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers


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