American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Why Everyone Should Know CPR!

I know most of you have a very keen awareness about the need for CPR training - why else would you be reading the American Heart Association's You're the Cure blog?  I recently had an experience that really crystallized how important it is that we're all educated in this lifesaving skill.  Last week, a colleague of ours who shares office space with the AHA here in Manhattan had a health scare.  She sat down at her desk and almost immediately, her world went topsy-turvy.  She became extremely dizzy, felt flushed, and had some back pain.  Her office mates, ran over to where the AHA staff sit and asked if anyone knew CPR.  I can't tell you grateful I was that I've been trained!  I headed over and kept her company while we waited for EMS to arrive.  Thank goodness she remained conscious the entire time; it gave us plenty of time to chat about our goal to improve CPR awareness in the city. 

In this case, we were able to clearly track the timeline for EMS to arrive since she had looked at her computer's clock right before feeling sick.  Her colleagues called 9-1-1 at 4:20pm.  Guess what time EMS arrived to her side?  4:37pm.  God forbid we had been dealing with a more serious emergency, like a cardiac arrest!  For every minute that passes, your chance of surviving decreases by 10%.  After just 10 minutes, if CPR isn't administered, you're in serious trouble! 

The 9-1-1 dispatcher was told it was a possible heart-related situation which would put her in a Level 1 incident (most urgent).  EMS would rush to the scene.  However, our office is in midtown.  Traffic is always a nightmare around here, but it gets especially bad around rush hour.  And as we always like to remind's one thing to get to the curb in a short amount of time; it's another concern to get up to the 18th floor of our building with all the necessary equipment.  This is why everyone - kids, adults, emergency personnel and every bystander on the street - should be trained in CPR.  If someone suffered a cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?  Would someone nearby know what to do if you were a victim?

I'm happy to report that our colleague is back in the office and doing well.  She's gone through some tests but is still waiting for a diagnosis.  I spoke with her today and she's keeping tabs on her blood pressure (which was extremely high during her incident.)  I am grateful that she agreed to let me tell her story to all of you.  I hope it inspires you to take action on our alerts in the "Action Center" so we can make sure we train all NY students in CPR before they graduate from high school!

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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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Power to End Stroke Leadership Brunch features Tulsa elected officials

On March 22nd, the American Heart Association held the sixth annual Power to End Stroke Leadership Brunch in downtown Tulsa. The purpose of this event is to entice attendees to make positive changes in their lifestyle that will reduce the likelihood of high reduced blood pressure and having a stroke.

 The event kicked off with a proclamation from Tulsa Mayor, Dewey Bartlett declaring the day as “Power to End Stroke Day” in Tulsa.  Mayor Bartlett spoke about the connection between learning the signs of stroke and his own experience learning CPR and using it to try and save a life. He also recognized the leadership of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in educating the community on the prevalence of stroke.

 Additionally, Senator Emeritus Judy Eason McIntyre presented a citation on behalf of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, to American Heart Association also declaring the day as Power to End Stroke Day in Tulsa. Senator Emeritus McIntyre issued a call to action to attendees; by encouraging each of them to take a proactive approach to managing their health and finding the power to end stroke.

Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death for all Americans, and it has an even higher prevalence among African Americans. African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to whites, and blacks 35 to 54 years of age have four times the risk for stroke. In Oklahoma, stroke claims the lives of 800 African Americans each year.

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Let's Make Louisiana CPR Smart!

House Bill 542, CPR in Schools, has successfully passed its first step in the legislative process.  The Louisiana House Committee on Education unanimously voted in favor of the bill on Thursday, April 3.  Committee members strongly voiced their support of CPR in schools.  State Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, asked that the American Heart Association host a CPR training day at the Capitol so legislators may receive hands on CPR training.  In the end, all committee members became coauthors of House Bill 542.

Click here to thank the House Education committee for their support!

Remember, this is only the first step in the process; we still have three CPR votes left.  Stay tuned for more You're the Cure alerts on how you can help Louisiana be CPR smart. 

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A Hands-On Advocate - Josh Moore

Josh Moore is saving lives, and he wants to make sure you know how to as well. A firefighter paramedic with the Eugene and Springfield Fire Department, Josh’s leadership in the community and in the State Capitol will put thousands of new lifesavers on the streets.

Josh, who has worked in Oregon as a professional firefighter paramedic for 13 years, is the program creator and coordinator of ACT: C3. This community-wide program is aimed at improving survival rates from cardiac arrest. It focuses on the five links in the chain of survival identified by the AHA.

“I named it ACT: C3 because I want people to take action,” Josh said.

Mobilizing students from the University of Oregon and local high school students to teach Hands-Only CPR to middle school students, Josh is demonstrating that big things can be accomplished with collaboration. Last year, thanks to the program, over 3,000 local citizens learned “Hands-Only CPR,” including every middle school student in Springfield. This year he’s up to more of the same. The creation of ACT: C3 earned Josh a Class II Commendation Medal from Eugene Springfield Fire.

Josh knows firsthand how easy it is to train students in Hands-Only CPR –it takes less time to learn than watching a TV sitcom. And he knows how important this is for all of Oregon: Requiring students to learn Hands-Only CPR would equip 40,000 new Oregonians every year to save the life of a loved one or a stranger. That’s why he has brought his experience and passion to AHA’s CPR in Schools campaign.

Josh serves on the Oregon CPR Advocacy Committee that works to advance efforts to teach more Oregonians CPR. At the State Capitol, Josh has met with legislators alongside young adults to advocate for a bill that would ensure students learned Hands-Only CPR before graduating. His voice as a community leader and a professional in emergency cardiac care is invaluable.

Most notably, Josh has a contagious passion for making Oregon a safer place to live. His willingness to generously give his time and enthusiasm to make that happen will have a profound impact for years to come.

At the American Heart Association, we can’t thank Josh enough. Perhaps the best way to show our appreciation is to encourage you to join Josh in advocating for CPR in Schools. As Josh will tell you, it takes everyone in a community to save more lives.

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CPR in Schools Could Save Lives

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Look to your left. Look to your right. Would the people around you know how to save your life if you suffered from sudden cardiac arrest? You can make sure that across Oregon there are thousands of people who would know what to do. That’s the whole idea behind our CPR in Schools campaign.

The majority of sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital. That means away from Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and surrounded by regular people, just like us. In many cases, it’s our neighbors, family members or even complete strangers who we rely on to save our lives. (If you haven’t read Raoul’s story  about how his wife saved his life with CPR, take a look.)  It’s crucial that we know the one skill that could save a life in the event of cardiac arrest: CPR. 

That’s why we’re working to bring more lifesavers to our community by making sure no high school student in Oregon graduates without learning the life-saving skill of CPR. Doing so will prepare more than 45,000 Oregon students each year to administer CPR in an emergency.

The facts support themselves:

  • Many cardiac arrest victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.
  • Each year, nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only 10.4% of these victims survive. 
  • Yet, when a CPR-trained bystander is near, they can double, even triple these victims’ survival rates by giving victims the help they need until the EMTs arrive.
  • Three to five minutes is a matter of life and death for sudden cardiac arrest victims. If victims don’t receive CPR or an AED in this timeframe, their survival rates drop.

 So far, 15 states across the country have passed laws requiring every high school student to be CPR-trained before graduation, and it’s paying off. Our Pacific Northwest neighbor, Washington State, passed a CPR in Schools policy in 2013.

And just last month, Morgan, a 15-year-old student in Spokane, Washington, saved her grandfather’s life. Morgan learned CPR on a Thursday at school, and on Monday, she made the courageous act of saving a loved one who needed help. You can read more about Morgan’s story, here.


Here in Oregon, we’re working to pass a CPR in Schools policy in 2015, but we need your help. We have to educate our community leaders and decision makers. We need to share your stories of survival or rescue. And we need you to let your elected officials know that you support this effort. Contact for more information about speaking up and getting your community involved.

Let’s save more lives. Let’s train the next generation of lifesavers. Let’s teach Oregon’s students to be CPR smart.

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We Did It, Mississippi!

Since the summer of 2012, Mississippi staff and volunteers have been working to emphasize the need for more CPR trained bystanders in our community. 

Through the collaborative efforts, staff and volunteers made an impact in our community, while laying a foundation for advocacy efforts.  Statewide efforts and events that highlighted  and raised awareness to this life-saving issue were: Go Healthy Challenge, High School athletic event Red Outs, Heart Walks, Heart Balls, Go Red for Women luncheon and a CPR training at the State Capitol.  In the fall of 2013, the Mississippi Gulf Coast became more involved.  D’Iberville High School decided they wanted to pilot a program to have their students trained.  Several volunteers shared their CPR stories to help further reinforce the need for CPR training in high schools, like Monica Whittle, who saved her husband's life by performing CPR on him, a skill she learned 30 years ago in middle school!

Flat Mollie display at the State Capitol

When the 2014 Mississippi Legislative Session started, Rep. Michael Evans from Louisville introduced House Bill 432, CPR in Schools.  The bill made its way through both the House and the Senate.  Throughout the process, You’re the Cure advocates sent emails, made phones calls, shared stories with lawmakers, and made social media pushes in order to gain support.  There was also a display in the Capitol Rotunda.  The ”Flat Mollie” display accompanied signs that asked, “If this was your loved one, would you know what to do?” 

We're thrilled that all of these efforts worked! 

On Monday, March 31, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 432 into law ensuring all high school students learn CPR.  Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the bill will add CPR education to physical education curriculum in the state’s high schools, resulting in thousands of CPR-trained students in our communities.  These students will be ready, willing and able to act whenever they witness an emergency at home or within the community and can potentially save lives every year.

Thank you to all Mississippi staff and volunteers who helped with this success!

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You're the Cure Success!

Have you ever wondered if all these letters you send to our elected officials make a difference? Well it has in New York City! While the new Council session is just getting ramped up, the American Heart Association has been meeting with targeted members of Council over these past several weeks. One meeting in particular revealed just how impactful our You're the Cure outreach can be. As we discussed our 2014 Policy Agenda for the city, the council staffer jumped ahead and asked about CPR in Schools. Before we could outline how effective student CPR training can be and how we expect this curriculum requirement to save lives - the aide informed us that they're already drafting legislation for us. We'll keep you posted about the next steps - and we're keeping our fingers crossed for more AHA priorities to be introduced soon!

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Time is Running Out for Kentucky's CPR Bill!

We have an opportunity to save lives in Kentucky for many generations to come--simply by ensuring every Kentucky student learns CPR before they graduate high school. The good news? CPR training can be completed in just ONE class period. Passing legislation to ensure CPR is taught to our high school students is, literally, a matter of life and death. Before time runs out this session, urge your Senator to support CPR training for KY's high school students by concurring with Senate Bill 89!

Each year, nearly 424,000 people have a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only 10.4% of these victims survive. Yet, when a CPR-trained bystander is near, they can double, even triple these victims’ survival rates by giving victims the help they need until the EMTs arrive. CPR training for Kentucky's high school students is sensible and affordable. Schools can team up with community partners like health departments, local EMS agencies, fire departments or community hospitals to help provide the training. Or, if they choose to invest in their own program, it can be done for just $1 per student in as little as 30 minutes.

So far, 13 states, including many in the South, like Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas have passed laws requiring every high school student to be CPR-trained before graduation, and it’s paying off. Graduates from just one school in Long Island, N.Y., have saved 16 lives since being trained. Help ensure Kentucky trains the next generation of lifesavers in CPR!

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CPR Education is Coming to Mississippi Schools!

On March 31, 2014 Governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 432 into law ensuring all high school students learn CPR.

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the bill will add CPR education to physical education curriculum in the state’s high schools, resulting in thousands of CPR-trained students in our communities. These students will be ready, willing and able to act whenever they witness an emergency at home or within the community and can potentially save lives every year.    

Thank you to all You're the Cure advocates who made this success possible!

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