It’s a Guinness World Record – Philips creates the world’s largest digital heart to shine a spotlight on heart health in South Africa.
Johannesburg, South Africa – Philips South Africa has set a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest GPS drawing by an individual on a bicycle in the shape of a digital heart.
The record attempt was undertaken and achieved to commemorate World Health Day (7th April 2019), and was the finale for the month-long Back to Rhythm campaign that was hosted by Philips South Africa in collaboration with the Philips Foundation and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, (HSFSA).
“I can only look back to this achievement with complete pride. It is very rewarding to be a part of an experience where organisations come together to achieve meaningful purpose and impact. I am extremely proud of the fact that we reached such a milestone in South Africa, especially considering that we also set a Guinness World Record in Egypt last year.” says Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa.
“We are committed to our goal of creating healthier communities by 2030, and with the support of the Philips Foundation, our Back to Rhythm campaign has elevated this vision. Moving forward, I can’t wait to see how we can collectively build on this momentum to drive bigger conversations and sustainable action around the need to prioritise heart health as a nation,” says Westerink
Kevin Benkenstein took on Philips’ “Back to Rhythm” challenge to cycle 510 km from Bloemfontein to Kimberley, to Boshof, to Hertzogville, to Bultfontein and back to Bloemfontein, digitally tracking his route to create the world’s largest GPS drawing in the shape of a heart.
Kevin and fellow cyclists, Dion Guy and Pieter Seyffertt also cycled across South Africa from Cape Town’s Klein Constantia Estate to the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg covering 2,200 km in under 5-days and replicating the pattern of an ECG heartbeat across the varied terrain. They were accompanied by Philips staff on sections of the ride.
“When Philips approached me to take on the challenge to attempt a Guinness World Record to raise awareness on heart health, it hit home as I lost my father to cardiovascular disease. I am proud to have represented such a powerful campaign and hope that South Africans continue to see the importance of healthy living even beyond this campaign and World Health Day,” says Kevin Benkenstein, one of the team members who set the record.
Both these landmark achievements formed part of a much larger Back to Rhythm campaign, aimed at creating public awareness and education around cardiac health, as well as passing on vital information on training (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation), BLS (Basic Life Support) and AED resuscitation, and how to prepare healthier food to ensure better heart health and overall wellbeing. The campaign was then amplified through simple, yet impactful solutions.
Phase 1 of the campaign had been running since early March 2019, in communities across Cape Town and Johannesburg. Residents of both cities were encouraged to get active by participating in stationary biking challenges. Over 2,000 South Africans participated, each cycling for 10-minutes and a combined total of 8,393 kilometres, securing 25 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) that the Philips Foundation had pledged to the HSFSA. The HSFSA will now place the AEDs in public spaces around the country to equip the members of the public with lifesaving capabilities in case of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
“We have a critical role to play as an organisation in ensuring that South Africans are educated and informed about heart health. This understanding influenced our decision to get involved and collaborate with Philips on the Back to the Rhythm campaign,” says Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA.
“The 25 AEDs that the Philips Foundation will provide us will equip citizens with lifesaving technology in public spaces, and I cannot be more appreciative of the same. This campaign has played a critical role in reinforcing good habits, like getting active and eating balanced meals, aimed to prevent future incidence of heart disease firstly, and secondly to educate South Africans on how to save a life in the unfortunate event that preventative measures were not effective often due to over-riding genetic factors.”
“Raising awareness on the growing incidence of CVD; especially SCA and reinforcing the need for a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet are core components of the Back to Rhythm campaign, which will continue with several different informative and educative programmes in the coming months. To successfully drive down future incidences of heart disease, we hope to see these conversations and training sessions bring about sustainable lifestyle changes in local communities; empowering South Africans to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.” concludes Westerink.