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  • Blog Post: Debra Wells

    Debra Wells, District of Columbia Don’t ever let yourself wind up like Debra Wells. Doctors confirm her heart stopped for almost 20 seconds. Today she’s alive to tell about it, and it was a rough road. Before her heart problems, Debra was a successful business woman, working as Vice...
  • Blog Post: Jodi Lemacks

    Jodi Lemacks, Virginia In June of 2003, my third child, Joshua, was born via c-section. Diagnosed with a Critical Congenital Birth Defect (CCHD) before birth, he was immediately whisked away to the hospital next door for his first of three open heart surgeries, without me even getting a glimpse of...
  • Blog Post: Juddson Rupp

    Juddson Rupp, North Carolina I didn’t remember anything from my week in the hospital, but when a friend brought in a copy of the six o’clock news from October 27, 2000 I quickly realized that either that was a slow news day or that I was one lucky miracle survivor with an important story...
  • Blog Post: Kendra Meiklejohn

    Kendra Meiklejohn, Virginia My husband and I were so excited at the ultrasound to find out the sex of our second child. We had our son with us. We were joking and talking with the tech. She suddenly grew quiet. When the doctor came in and viewed the ultrasound, he was also very quiet. It didn’t...
  • Blog Post: Lori Valencia Greene

    Lori Valencia Greene, Maryland Lori Valencia Greene is a woman of many hats: mother, daughter, friend, student, and an advocate for change in her community. She was surprised at the young age of 47 to also find herself a stroke survivor! Lori has always had a desire to make a difference. Because...
  • Blog Post: Nancy Chapman

    Nancy Chapman, District of Columbia Nancy Chapman has seen it all. A long-time advocate and volunteer for the American Heart Association, Nancy has been a true champion for nutrition and heart health both nationally and locally. Toward the beginning of her career, Nancy was teaching nutrition classes...
  • Blog Post: Neil Dorsey

    Neil Dorsey, North Carolina Why am I an advocate? What got me started down this path? I have always felt the need to speak up about issues that impact on our lives. I once heard at a meeting that we advocate for those folks who cannot speak or do not have a voice in decisions being made about their...
  • Blog Post: Francee Levin

    Francee Levin, South Carolina The last thing I remember of my poetry residency at Colleton County Middle School was getting an elevator key. The next thing was seeing a strange ceiling, which turned out to be in an intensive care unit, over a week later. I was told I was talking to a teacher when...
  • Blog Post: Paul Kearns

    Paul Kearns, North Carolina Twenty five years ago I was working as a boat captain on the Long Island Sound. It was a beautiful summer day around dusk when someone collapsed near me on the dock I was operating. This man was turning blue, and after being frozen with fear I did the only thing I knew...
  • Blog Post: Dr. Amie Hsia

    Dr. Amie Hsia, District of Columbia How do you build a passion for stroke? Dr. Amie Hsia is absolutely driven to reduce the gap in knowledge about stroke awareness. As a stroke fellow at Stanford University, Hsia was asked to work on stroke issues in the community. She was staggered by the lack of...
  • Blog Post: Sally Sheppard

    Sally Sheppard, South Carolina My Senior Project back at Ashley Hall High School was inspired by a traumatic event that happened to my friend in the summer of 2009. He almost lost his life, and was saved by CPR. The project revolved around making sure my senior class was certified in CPR before we...
  • Blog Post: Breanna Sudano

    Breanna Sudano, Maryland On September 27, 2011, two weeks before my 14 th birthday, while playing in a field hockey game for my high school, I collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Two coaches recognized that I was not breathing and without hesitation, immediately started CPR. I was also...
  • Blog Post: Yolanda Dickerson

    Yolanda Dickerson, North Carolina I am the product of my village. When I received the AHA Survivor Advocate of the Year award in DC this year, I knew it was really not about me. The award is a culmination of those who invested in me and what I’ve learned up to this point. For more than 11 years...
  • Blog Post: Tabitha Haizlip

    Tabitha Haizlip, North Carolina On August 30 th 2012 our eight day old son, Broden, suddenly stopped feeding. This was unusual as he had been a big eater until that time. We made an appointment with the pediatrician to have him examined right away. While examining Broden the doctor discovered an unusually...
  • Blog Post: Advocate Spotlight: Dana Powell

    Dana Powell, North Carolina On January 1, 2012, we launched the New Year with the birth of a beautiful baby boy, Asa Heard Karchmer. He brought hope, love and wonder into our lives. Those dreams and hopes were abruptly shattered on day two of Asa’s life. We came home from the hospital and very...
  • Blog Post: Advocate Spotlight: Joye Mullis

    Joye Mullis, North Carolina As with all children, my son’s story began well before his birth. I had a fairly easy pregnancy, tainted by a couple of scares early on, but then all appeared well at my 20-week ultrasound. I was healthy. Baby was healthy. Life was good. At 28 weeks, I had a...
  • Blog Post: Advocate Spotlight: Mary Kay Ballasiotes

    Mary Kay Ballasiotes, North Carolina Mary Kay Ballasiotes has been advocating for children for over 15 years. Her daughter, Michelle had a stroke before she was born and that moment changed both of their lives forever. Mary Kay’s advocacy days started in 2002 in Chicago where she founded the...
  • Blog Post: Jodi Lemacks

    Jodi Lemacks, Virginia In June of 2003, my third child, Joshua, was born via c-section. Diagnosed with a Critical Congenital Birth Defect (CCHD) before birth, he was immediately whisked away to the hospital next door for his first of three open heart surgeries, without me even getting a glimpse of...
  • Blog Post: Frank Amend

    Frank Amend, North Carolina Frank Amend had never even heard of the American Heart Association before 2003. That’s when at 41 years old he underwent a heart catherization procedure to have four stents implanted in his coronary arteries. Frank actually joined the American Heart Association’s...
  • Blog Post: Kim Landreth

    Kim Landreth, North Carolina All I ever wanted was to be a mother. Then six months into my pregnancy I found out that my baby girl would be born with a heart defect. We were devastated and so afraid of what was to come for our little girl. Olivia was born in Jan. 2008 with a heart defect that later...
  • Blog Post: Richard Benson

    Richard Benson, MD/PhD, District of Columbia “I’m looking at the man in the mirror.” When it comes to preventing heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #4 most common causes of death in the US, respectively, I think of those famous and poignant words by the late great Michael Jackson...
  • Blog Post: Anne Howell

    Anne Howell, North Carolina I inherited a condition from my mother known as cardiomyopathy. I have an enlarged left ventricle that pumps inefficiently causing irregular and life threatening rhythms. Two of her four daughters are afflicted with it and my sister’s daughter also has the condition...
  • Blog Post: Gail Mates

    Gail Mates, Virginia I spent most of my life watching heart disease strike family members. Both grandfathers died of heart attacks, my father suffered from several and even my mother had an enlarged heart and hypertension that made her susceptible. When my father had a stroke, I witnessed firsthand...
  • Blog Post: Neal Reynolds

    Neal Reynolds, Maryland Neal Reynolds was never an active advocate until his passion for telemedicine collided with a policy opportunity. As a physician who has spent a lot of time over the years working in hospital intensive care units, he has unique insight into how policy change for telemedicine...
  • Blog Post: Larry Calhoun

    Larry Calhoun, North Carolina Seven years ago, I completed a 75 mile charity bike ride--a proud achievement and testimony to my level of fitness to complete the ride. About a week later, I went to bed early not feeling well. I awoke at 3:00 a.m. with a pain in my chest that felt like someone tightening...