American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Arkansas Advocates Meet with U.S. Senate Office

On Wednesday July 2nd AHA Advocates Brett Stone and Carole Garner met with Senator Mark Pryor’s staff to discuss the Child Nutrition Act.  The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act is currently making its way through Congress and would help keep strong nutrition standards for school meals.

Senator Pryor sits on the important Senate Appropriation committee that has influence over this bill.  In May his committee approved the Child Nutrition Act that included stronger standards than the House of Representatives version. 

We thanked Senator Pryor for keeping the Child Nutrition Act strong, and encouraged him to not accept any weakening amendments as the bill moves towards final passage. 

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Vickie Wingfield, Ultimate Advocacy Volunteer

Vickie Wingfield is one of the American Heart Association’s ultimate volunteers and has been involved with AHA for over 18 years.  She is currently the Chair of the Arkansas State Advocacy Committee and continues to bring cheer, passion, and enthusiasm to everything she does. 

While currently lending her leadership to You’re the Cure Advocacy efforts, Vickie has remained committed to many of our fundraising events including the Heart Ball, Central Arkansas Heart Walk, the Festival of Wines and the Go Red For Women Luncheon. 

Vickie works for the Arkansas Heart Hospital as the Director of Community Relations.  She is also a heart disease survivor and works tirelessly to educate Arkansans about their risk factors and to take charge of their heart health.  Vickie is the mother of two sons and has a grandson Brooks and granddaughter Riley. 

Prior to chairing the State Advocacy Committee Vickie served as the Grassroots Action Team leader. 

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email to find how you can get involved.


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Arkansas Advocate Stars in PSA for CPR in Schools

Arkansas volunteer and Miss Teen International, Haley Pontius, is on a mission to educate more people – especially her peers – about how CPR can save a life.  That is why she supports CPR in Schools legislation and recently starred in a Public Service Announcement. 

You can view the PSA video by clicking here.

In addition to her CPR advocacy Haley has volunteered for the American Heart Association since 2007 in a number of roles.  Haley was a summer intern at the Central Arkansas office in 2012 and has volunteered at several events, like the Heart Ball and Go Red For Women Luncheon.

Thanks to advocates like Haley 1 million students across the nation each school year will be trained in CPR, including students in states like Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas where advocates helped to pass CPR in Schools initiatives. 


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Speaker Davy Carter Highlighted You're the Cure Celebration

On Thursday, May 22, Arkansas You’re the Cure advocates and Central Arkansas volunteers met for an Advocacy Afterhours post session reception. State Advocacy Chair Vickie Wingfield led the meeting and introduced the special guest for the evening, House Speaker Davy Carter. 

Speaker Carter spoke about the importance of volunteer involvement in the legislative process and gave an inside look into the Private Option funding that was passed during the 2014 Fiscal Session. 

As a champion of the Private Option, he spoke to both the economic and public health benefits it will provide in Arkansas.  Thanks to the efforts of YTC advocates and legislative champions 100,000 Arkansas residents will keep their private insurance and many more will have access in the future. 

Grassroots Action Team Chair Kathy Haynie then presented Speaker Carter with over 300 thank you letters signed by American Heart Association advocates and supporters in recent months. 

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 



We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!

PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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AHA Volunteer Tirelessly Pursues Improving Care

Dr. Robert Wozniak has tirelessly worked to improve care for cardiac patients since earning his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine.  Now residing in Austin, Texas he helps advance our mission across the country by sitting on AHA’s National Mission Lifeline Advisory Working Group.  Through advocating for change within our Mission Lifeline program and with elected officials he is a true leader in our efforts to improve cardiac care.

While twice receiving volunteer leadership awards from the American Heart Association Dr. Wozniak recently received the prestigious 2014 Frist Humanitarian Physician of the Year Award for HCA St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. The Frist Humanitarian Awards recognize employees, physicians and volunteers at HCA-affiliated facilities across the country who demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their communities.

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Arkansas: Mission Lifeline Inaugural Meeting

On Friday, May 2, 2014, 51 people from across Arkansas and surrounding states, gathered to begin discussing a coordinated System of Care in accordance with our Mission Lifeline program.  The meeting included cardiologist, nurses, emergency room staff, Emergency Services, State Health Department and staff from Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care. 

Three physicians presented the state of Arkansas with regards to STEMI (the most serious type of heart attack), what a system would look like and a look at other successful systems in other states.  Speakers were Dr. Barry Tedder, of Jonesoboro, Dr. A. Balamurugun of the Arkansas Department of Health and Dr. Robert Wozniak.   Also presenting were Loni Denne and Cammie Marti from AHA. 

Do you have a story about receiving good or bad cardiac care?  Would you like to get more involved with improving care in Arkansas?  If so, please post in the comments below or email

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Take Control of Your Health

Did you know high blood pressure has also been called the “silent killer”? That’s because its symptoms are not always obvious, making the need for regular check-ups important.  As we recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, here are the facts:

• High blood pressure (aka: hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

• It’s the leading risk factor of women’s deaths in the U.S., and the second leading risk factor for death for men.

• One-third of American adults have high blood pressure. And 90 percent of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes.

• More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black adults have high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more prevalent in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.
• Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.

Now that you know the facts, what can you do to take control? The answer is a “lifestyle prescription” that can prevent and manage high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, stress management, and eating a healthy diet, especially by reducing the sodium you eat. To learn more about taking control of you blood pressure, be sure to visit our online toolkit!

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Chloe Sumrall Saves a Life

When Chloe Sumrall entered a restaurant last March, the senior high school student was looking forward to enjoying a celebratory lunch after a long season as president of the Sub-Debutante committee.

Chloe heard a scream of terror from across the restaurant and responded immediately.  Seeing a man's body laid out on the floor, apparently non-responsive, Chloe said firmly to those attempting to help, “I am CPR certified, are you?”  When no one responded, she hurried to begin hands-on chest compressions.  For the next several minutes, Chloe and her mother worked to resuscitate the stranger.

A doctor who was also patronizing the restaurant told Chloe that she could stop, that there was no chance of this man's survival.  While family members and onlookers huddled in prayer, Chloe continued performing CPR until the paramedics arrived.  Even then, things looked grim. 

Compelled to know whether the man had survived, Chloe and her parents went to find his family at the hospital.  This complete stranger to Chloe had suffered Sudden Cardiac Death, a condition that in Mississippi has less than a 2% chance of survival.  Because of Chloe’s immediate action, this man joined the 2% of survivors that day! 

Today, Chloe is a freshman at the University of Mississippi and the survivor is enjoying life with his family.

To find out more about local area CPR classes, visit

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