When we started the Kenzie Car Calendar twelve years ago, we looked for a charity that had the potential to reduce the terrible toll taken by road crashes.
Our original beneficiary was SMARTRISK, a charitable organization founded by paediatric heart surgeon Dr. Robert Conn, who had begun to realize that most of the donors for his heart transplant surgeries were teenagers who had taken unnecessary risks.
He realized he could save more lives - certainly, more 'person-years' - if he could find a way to stop those teenagers from dying in the first place.
In 2012, SMARTRISK merged with three other injury prevention organizations to form Parachute, which is now Canada's leading injury prevention charity.
Parachute wants to bring attention to the issue of preventable injury, and support Canadians in enjoying long lives, lived to the fullest.
Injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadians aged 1 - 44, many of these a result of car crashes.
Yet, most of what people refer to as "accidents" are not accidents at all, but predictable and preventable events.
The emotional impact of injuries is devastating to families, friends and communities. The annual human cost of preventable injury is:
More than 10,000 deaths
200,000 hospital stays
3.5 million emergency room visits
In addition, the annual economic burden of injury to Canadians is estimated at nearly $27 billion.
Prevention efforts do have an impact. During the past 20 years public attention and awareness of injury prevention has increased significantly, and serious injuries and deaths have been reduced.
But it is not enough.
Parachute is determined to lead, inspire and mobilize Canadians to participate in creating a culture shift to help prevent injuries and save lives.
The Kenzie Calendar is proud to join with Parachute in helping to create this culture shift.