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Join us October 4th at the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk

As you may know the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk was originally scheduled for August 9th but as Tropical Storm Iselle was bearing down on Hawaii with heavy rains and high winds we decided to postpone the walk for the safety of our volunteers and attendees.

We have rescheduled the Oahu Heart & Stroke Walk for Saturday October 4th.

The Heart & Stroke Walk celebrates those who have made lifestyle changes and encourages many more to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles while raising the dollars needed to fund life-saving research and initiatives in our local community.

Come walk with us Saturday, October 4th at Kapi`olani Park. The festival opens at 6:30 a.m. and the Walk kicks off at 7:30 a.m.

This free family event includes:

  • A health fair & preventative screenings
  • Kids' Zone
  • CPR training
  • FREE heart-healthy snacks & beverages!

Each year more than 3,200 people in Hawaii die from heart disease. We, the American Heart Association, want to lower that number and that is why we work to raise awareness and money for research. This event is free but donations are always welcome.

Be sure to stop by the advocacy booth and sign a postcard in support of adding CPR training in Hawaii high schools. If you are interesting in helping at the advocacy booth please click here to email Don Weisman.

We hope to see you on October 4th!

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Back to School - Join Us As We Advocate for Healthy Policies for Our Children

written by Marc Watterson, Government Relations Director, Utah

Like many of you, I look forward to the fall season! Truth be told I’m not a huge fan of the heat and I have always loved Utah’s cooler fall climate. Fall brings with it many wonderful things – the excitement of professional, college, and high school football, little-league soccer, shopping sales, and the beginning of a new school year.

This year was a completely new one for me as a parent as our oldest daughter began kindergarten! It was a bittersweet moment as we helped her get ready that first morning and watched her board the bus for her first day of school. Her excitement was contagious as she anxiously got to her seat and began waving to us through the school bus window. We continued to wave as the bus pulled down the street and out of sight.

I can only imagine how many times this same scene played out across the state as many of you watched children or grandchildren leave for school.

As parents – or even relatives – to these young children, we want the very best for them. We want them to grow up in a world full of opportunities, where they can fulfill their dreams and aspirations. Whatever the situation, wherever they might be, we want to make sure that children are provided with the best, and safest, environment possible.

This became very apparent to me this past year as – like many of you – we heard tragic stories of young children who were hurt or killed on their way to and from school. The stories pull at our heartstrings as we realize how important safe routes to school are and just how fragile life can be. It is the recognition of the importance of life that fuels us as advocates for the American Heart Association. Together, we have done amazing things!

Just last year we rallied together to encourage the Department of Health to create a new recognition system that identifies those hospitals in the state who strive for the very best in patient care when it comes to treating those who suffer a stroke. Many of you joined with us at the state capitol for our annual Heart on the Hill day where we successfully lobbied our state legislators to restore funding to the CPR and AED in Schools Training Program. Because of you, every sophomore in Utah will have the chance to be trained in CPR and how to use an AED as part of their Health class! Together, we have laid the framework that will help create a generation of lifesavers for years to come!

And while it would be easy to sit back and count our victories, there is still so much more that can be done here in Utah. This year, we set our sights on improving the health of all Utahns – especially our children.

The American Heart Association|American Stroke Association is teaming up with the Utah Department of Transportation to encourage our state and local elected officials to ensure our children have a healthier, more walkable pathway to school. We are asking all of you to join us as we encourage policymakers to increase funding for the state’s Safe Routes to School program. This program provides funding for schools and local cities to come together and identify areas of need in their communities. The Safe Routes to School program helps improve sidewalks, create crosswalks, and provide signage that help to keep kids and drivers safe. The AHA|ASA supports the funding of this program because of the potential safety and health impact this could have on our children and communities – all in the goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans!

As part of our efforts we will be hosting a booth at our upcoming Heart|Stroke Walk & Run 5K. We would love to have you stop by and sign a postcard in support of the Safe Routes to School program. We will be delivering these postcards to policymakers across the state! You can also click here to volunteer to help us at the event as we work to raise awareness of this issue amongst the thousands of Heart|Stroke Walk attendees!

As parents and those concerned about the children in our community we have many things that we worry about with our children; the last thing we should have to worry about is if our children have a safe route to travel to school. Please support us as we strive to create healthier, more walkable communities throughout the state!

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Cameron Croonquist - Summer Intern Highlight

Cameron Croonquist

Hi everyone my name is Cameron.  I am currently a student studying Public Health Policy and Management at Oregon State University and I’m also wrapping up my advocacy internship with the American Heart Association this summer. For the last three months I’ve been working on our effort to ensure all students learn Hands-Only CPR in school by 2015.  I am extremely passionate about improving the quality and longevity of people’s health here in Oregon, so working with the American Heart Association has been a great fit.

My experience at the American Heart Association has been filled with excitement.  I was fortunate to work with many advocates in various Oregon communities who support our effort to educate more people in Hands-Only CPR as well as state legislators throughout the state.  I really enjoyed hearing about the successes regarding CPR education and listening to heartwarming stories where lives were saved.  Improving the health of our communities is a priority of mine, and I’m grateful for the opportunity that the Heart Association has provided me with the opportunity to create a safer community for all of us.  I look forward to using the experiences I’ve gained at the American Heart Association to reach my educational goals at Oregon State University.

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Governor Kitzhaber's Special CPR Message

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you this special message from Oregon’s Governor, John Kitzhaber, and Portland Fire & Rescue. This past spring while driving through downtown Portland, Gov. Kitzhaber spotted a person in urgent need of help. He acted quickly and stepped up to save their life by calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR. A former Emergency Room physician, Gov. Kitzhaber is familiar with lifesaving protocol. He also knows that you don’t have to be a doctor or a governor to save a life—with Hands Only CPR, any bystander can give someone they see collapse double to triple the chance of survival.

It’s simple:

Step 1) Dial 9-1-1.

Step 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Please watch this PSA and share it on Facebook to help us spread this lifesaving message. You can also learn more about Hands Only CPR here. (View the message here: http://youtu.be/E1zu2N6NIDo)

Everyone can and should learn Hands Only CPR—thanks for your help!

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Training a Generation of Life Savers in the Denver Community

The American Heart Association recently had the opportunity to work with Project SHINE at the Spring Institute in Denver, to train Burmese, Bhutanese, and Iraqi refugees in CPR through the Salah Foundation grant. These refugees live in some of the most underserved areas of our city and speak little to no English. However, that didn't stand in the way of learning the lifesaving skill of CPR. 

AHA staff members Rene Ramon and Whitney Bell Haggard conducted the first of three trainings at the end of July in which they quickly realized that we would need to find new and creative ways to teach the CPR Anytime curriculum.


“We knew that the participants had the skills save a life at the end of the training, so we challenged them to train others in their community,” said Whitney Bell Haggard.

She continued, “We were elated to see that of the 150 people we trained during the session, 75 have turned in their sheets to show that they took their kits home and trained others. With just those 75 people we have an additional 480 people trained!”

Isn’t that amazing? One person even trained 58 individuals! We here at AHA just can’t stress enough how this is going to make Denver’s most underserved populations safer and how this also reinforces the importance of how advocates can live out our mission every day, making our communities safer and healthier.

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Kids with Heart...

Kids with Heart...Do you know any kids that are working to make a difference?  We do!  Meet Molly Budzinski and Joey Mendrick.

Molly just started her senior year at Orchard Park High School.  Before heading back to school, Molly traveled from Buffalo to Albany to met with Governor Cuomo's Assistant Secretary of Education to ask the Governor to sign the #CPRinSchools bill.  After learning that CPR wasn't taught in her school, Molly spoke to school officials and started a CPR training program .  And now over 1700 students have been trained! Molly is passionate about CPR because she lost her grandmother to sudden cardiac arrest.

Joey is another student with Heart!  Just 14, Joey Mendrick recently wrote to Governor Cuomo to offer to teach him Hands-Only CPR.  Joey has already trained WNBA start Tina Charles - here's hoping Gov. Cuomo is next! Joey knows the importance of CPR - he's alive because someone knew CPR.  Why teach CPR in Schools?  #Joeyiswhy

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NJ Celebrates New School Year with New CPR Training Law!

Students throughout the Garden State are heading back to school this month. Those who are starting high school will be learning an important lesson before graduation-how to perform CPR during an emergency!

On August 20, Lt. Governor Kimberly Guadagno signed a bill that will ensure that students entering 9th grade this fall and after will receive hands-on CPR training as part of the health curriculum. Laurie Heavener, American Heart Association volunteer and sudden cardiac arrest survivor, was invited to tell her story at the bill signing. Moments after collapsing on the street while waiting to pick up her daughter, she received CPR from a high school sophomore who learned the lifesaving skill at school. If it had not been for this student, she may not be alive today.

With the signing of this bill, New Jersey becomes the 19th state to require CPR training for high school students. It is estimated that as a result, the Garden State will be training 90,000 new lifesavers earch year.

The American Heart Association thanks Lt. Governor Guadagno, bill sponsors Senator Diane Allen and Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, the numerous co-sponsors of the bill and all the legisators who voted in favor of making this bill a reality. Because of their support and action, New Jersey is truly creating a generation of lifesavers!

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Heart of Gold

I am excited to be able to celebrate some amazing advocates from Central MA as Heart of Gold Winners at the Heart of the Commonwealth Event.

The Heart of Gold Award is presented each year to members of the Central Massachusetts’ community who have enhanced the quality of life in the region and who have played a significant role in advancing the mission of the American Heart Association

John and Luann Ellsessar, Sutton; Ben and Dawn Symes, Millville and Gracie Soultanian, Shirley-Heart of Gold for advocating to ensure that our schools and communities are equipped with AEDs and that our students are trained with the lifesaving skill of CPR in memory of Michael Ellsessar, in honor in Tyler Symes and in recognition of 13 year old Gracie’s inspirational efforts.

Rachel Henry, Worcester-Heart of Gold for advocating to ensure that all stroke patients receive quick, high quality care like she did; and that all residents of the Commonwealth know the signs and symptoms of stroke so they can have the opportunity to not only survive but thrive following a stroke like she has.

 Patricia Degon, Worcester-Heart of Gold for advocating to ensure that our children will get quality daily physical education in schools to create the foundation of lifelong physical fitness.

The Heart of the Commonwealth Celebration & Wine Tasting, which will attract more than 250 of Central Massachusetts’ most prominent business and healthcare professionals, is the annual social event benefiting the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association in its mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We can be proud that over $31 million of American Heart Association funded lifesaving research takes place right here in Massachusetts. The evening will include a cocktail reception followed by wine and microbrew tasting, silent auction and live music performed by Rusty Scott Jazz Trio. For more information and to purchase event tickets, please visit http://heartofthecommonwealth.heart.org

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Renewed Call To Action for CPR in NH Schools

Schools across New Hampshire are back in session! And now is the time to renew our push to get hands on CPR training into school curriculums. Schools are the place we expect our children to learn not only the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, but to become active members of their community. One thing we’d all like to see our children learning, is how to perform CPR should they ever witness someone who collapses in cardiac arrest. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, we know our kids are capable of saving a life if only they are trained to deliver CPR while waiting for an AED. Many high schools in NH teach students CPR, but not ALL students are receiving hands-on training even in those schools. The AHA wants New Hampshire to adopt the requirement that all students graduate high schools having been trained in CPR. When we do, Granite-staters will have ever-increasing odds that someone nearby will be able to respond with this life-saving skill. This school-year our decision-makers, from legislators down to local school boards, need to hear from advocates like you that CPR taught in schools will result in thousands of new lifesavers in our communities every year. If you know of anyone - a loved one, co-worker or yourself – saved because a bystander knew CPR, please share your story with us today!

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