American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
WELCOME! PLEASE LOGIN OR SIGN UP

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
SIGN UP
Advocates Deliver "Lunch" and a Message

August was a busy month for many of our fantastic You're the Cure advocates as they met with members of Congress and their staff in their home districts to urge their support of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Advocates from across the country, like Grace Oberholtzer of Pennsylvania, pictured at left with Congressman Dent, delivered special puzzles to lawmakers throughout the month to highlight that nutritious food 'fits' into a successful school day for every child.

Our sincere appreciation also goes out to the many other advocates who made "lunch" deliveries in the AHA Great Rivers Affiliate: Sandy Larimore, Cary Hearn and Malenda McCalister of Kentucky, Hilary Requejo, Elaine Bohman, Holly Boykin and Felicia Guerrero of Ohio, Theresa Conejo and Marlene Etkowicz (pictured at right ) in Pennsylvania, Dr. Dan Foster and Cinny Kittle in West Virginia, and Sarah Noonan Davis and Lynn Toth in Delaware.

It's not too late to raise your voice too. Speak-up for quality food in schools!

Read More

Cinny Kittle, West Virginia

Cinny Kittle West Virginia

To our You're the Cure advocates, August means Congressional Recess and an opportunity to meet with lawmakers face-to-face. In West Virginia, that often means Cinny Kittle will be busier than usual speaking out for improved health.

On August 4th, Cinny joined WV Government Relations Director, Christine Compton, in delivering "lunch" to Congressman Nick Rahall's Washington, DC office--a lunch sack filled with puzzle pieces that represent a healthy school meal. The message? Support the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

As the Director of Health Improvement Initiatives at the West Virginia Hospital Association for the past 17 years, Cinny works on various projects to positively impact the lives of West Virginians. In addition, she is the Director of the Tobacco-Free WV Coalition, the co-founder and director of the WV Breastfeeding Alliance, she serves of the steering committee for the WV Perinatal Partnership and founded the Day One program to help get newborn babies off to their best start.

Cinny is committed to improving the health of our fellow Mountaineers. She is a strong advocate for public health and a terrific asset to the groups she collaborates with on a regular basis. With her busy schedule and many commitments, we are fortunate to have her as a passionate You're the Cure advocate and outstanding member of the American Heart Association’s Advocacy Committee. Thank you, Cinny, for all you to do improve the health of West Virginia!

Read More

We Did It! Passionate PA Advocates Help Newborn Pulse Ox Bill Cross the Finish Line

In Pennsylvania, an April "Pulse Ox" Advocacy Day, with dozens of advocates in attendance, proved successful in getting HB 1420, which had been passed by House many months earlier, moving in the Senate. And, when the bill passed the Senate but got caught up in an unrelated political battle in the House just before the Legislature was to recess for the summer, Government Relations Director, Jennifer Ebersole, reached out to advocates on a Saturday afternoon. These outstanding You're the Cure volunteers made certain legislators heard their voices throughout the remainder of the weekend, getting the bill on the agenda by Monday morning and through its final step in the House by Monday evening.

As Jen puts it, "I can say with extreme certainty that the reason this happened was because of the overwhelming outpouring of phone calls that House Leadership received." We can’t thank our PA advocates enough for their perseverance in ensuring all babies born in the Commonwealth will now receive pulse oximetry screening to help detect congenital heart defects.

Read More

Ella Thomas Beames

Ella Thomas Beames

My name is Ella Thomas Beames. I’m 11 years old. I live with my mom and dad and my dog, Lucky, that we adopted a year ago. He’s awesome. I’m a UofL fan and I love Jennifer Lawrence – she’s my idol.

Friday, September 2, 2011, started out like any other morning. But when I got to school everything changed. As I was walking into my classroom, I fainted. I’m told I turned blue because there was no oxygen going to my brain because my heart was beating too fast and wasn’t pumping the right amount of blood through my body with each heart beat. My principal, Deb Rivera, and my Librarian, Heidi Keairns, saved my life performing CPR on me. What I remember next was that I was sitting in a chair with oxygen and there were firemen all around me. Then my mom and dad got there. I remember everyone looking at me as they rolled the stretcher with me on it down the hallway through school. Then the ambulance took me to Kosair Children’s Hospital.

I remember my aunt and uncle came to see me in the ER and they started crying and so did I. I also got sick. I was just so scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt like a completely different person. They took me to do tests. When we were taken up to a room in the hospital, they did a brain test where they attached lots of cords to my head and they drew on me too. They used a strobe light and it made me feel kind of sick afterwards. Then the doctor came and told my mom and dad and my granny and me that I had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I didn’t know what it was but my mom was very upset. This is when part of the heart muscle thickens and can make pumping blood hard. It also can mean life-threatening arrhythmias – when your heart starts beating too fast and too irregularly. That’s what happened to me at school.

They told me I was going to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in my chest. I was taken to the PICU. I had the nicest nurses who washed all the gunk out of my hair from the brain test and braided it. They were awesome. Then my friend Olivia cam to visit me along with my counselor and my old principal, Mrs. French. Over the next 4 days, about 45 people came to see me. Everyone in my class made me cards and we taped them on the wall of my half of the room. The surgery for the "device" went well. I got to go home just a couple days later. I had to sleep with my arm in a sling wrapped to my chest to the pacemaker leads would heal into my heart. I didn’t like it much, it felt very tight. But I had to do that for six weeks.

I had to quit playing soccer because I need to work at my own pace. But, I started a Drama Club at my school (we’re in our second year) and I’m in the scouts and I play violin. I also love to paint, draw and be creative. I’ve had to get used to being the "girl who fainted" at my school, but now it doesn’t bother me, because I’ve gotten to be a Heart Ambassador for helping my Coach at school, also, I feel strong because I’ve had to face my fears when my defibrillator fired four different times last April. My medicines are keeping my heart steady and my doctors tell me I’m doing great! My school has been doing Jump Rope for Heart for years, but this year I really wanted to get involved but I don’t jump rope, so I decided I could help by raising lots of money! We shared my personal page on my mom’s Facebook page and through that we raised more than $1,600.00! It makes me feel good.

I would tell other kids who learn they have a heart condition to be strong – it will be ok. Be comfortable to walk around the block with your pet. Like Lila in The Golden Compass said, "master your fear". And that’s my story.

Read More

Senate Leaders Block Kentucky's CPR Bill

Despite Kentucky's CPR in Schools bill passing the House of Representatives unanimously and the overwhelming support and outreach to lawmakers from fantastic You're the Cure advocates like you, ultimately Senate leaders blocked the measure from being heard in the Senate. 

Each year, nearly 424,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only a fraction of victims survive. CPR has been proven to double or triple the chances of a victim surviving cardiac arrest, and over time this bill would ensure that Kentucky has hundreds of thousands of individuals who know how to administer CPR. 

On behalf of the American Heart Association, THANK YOU for your support and dedication and we look forward to working with you over the next year to ensure passage of CPR training for Kentucky's high school students during the 2015 session! Urge those you know to show support for training Kentucky's high school students in CPR by asking them to sign up at www.becprsmart.org!

Read More

Support A Simple Screening That Can Detect Congenital Heart Defects

Did you know that a simple pulse oximetry screening can detect a congenital heart defect that might have otherwise gone unnoticed? House Bill 1420 would ensure that all Pennsylvania newborns are given this lifesaving screening before being discharged from the hospital. Please urge your Senator to make Pennsylvania the next state to support pulse oximetry screening for newborns!

Congenital heart disease affects approximately eight of every 1,000 live births. They are the most common birth defects in the U.S. and the leading killer of infants with birth defects. Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive, inexpensive test conducted on newborns before they leave the hospital, in conjunction with current CHD screening methods. It greatly improves the effectiveness and likelihood of detecting critical or possibly life-threatening heart defects that might otherwise go undetected. In fact, new research suggests wider use of pulse ox screening could help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.

Read More

November Advocacy Day a Great Success: Make Plans to Join Us in March!

On November 13th, the American Heart Association hosted the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Advocacy Day with our partners, Buckeye Healthy Schools Alliance and Ohio SOPHE.  That day, our fantastic advocates urged support for healthier communities through adoption of state health education standards (HB 256), clarifying liability coverage for schools that open their doors (HB 290, shared use policy) and student participation in quality physical education.

The event was a great success--thanks to our outstanding advocates, of course!  Early reports indicate positive feedback from legislators and we'll be using the information gathered from the advocates to determine our next steps.  Feedback from these meetings is so critical to our success and isn't possible without the support of our advocates!  (Check out the photos below and see additional pictures on our Facebook page of our advocates in action.)

            

If you weren't able to attend this event, you can still support healthier Ohio communities by visiting our Action Center. And make plans to join us for our next event, Ohio Advocacy Day on March 12, 2014. Registration is currently open!

 

Read More

The Tobacco Toll on Ohio Kids

This month, we are looking at the impact of tobacco.  Last week, we posted how tobacco use affects the body.  This week, we'll examine the impact on our kids.

The chart below was developed by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.  Most of us would be surprised to know 21% of high school students smoke, compared to the Ohio adult smoking rate of 25%.  It is clear we can change these numbers through not only through cessation, but also appropriate, best practice tobacco prevention - particularly efforts to prevent kids from starting.  While Ohio once had a nationally recognized tobacco prevention and cessation program, funding was lost for many years.  Although some funding was restored in the last budget, it is still not back to Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended levels. 

Ohio has the ability to make a difference.  Grassroots support of efforts to restoring funding can turn these numbers around.  If you haven't yet, please send a message to your legislators and urge their support!

 

The Toll of Tobacco in Ohio

High school students who smoke 21.1% (135,400)
Male high school students who use smokeless or spit tobacco 19.2% (females use much lower)
Kids (under 18) who become new daily smokers each year 15,000
Kids exposed to secondhand smoke at home 919,000
Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids each year 34.1 million
Adults in Ohio who smoke* 25.1% (2,221,800)

*Due to changes in CDC's methodology, the 2011 adult smoking rate cannot be compared to adult smoking data from previous years.

Read More

A Victory for Pulse Ox Screening!

Last Tuesday morning, we had an important victory here in Pennsylvania for pulse oximetry (pulse ox) screenings. HB 1420 was passed unanimously by the PA House Human Services Committee, sending the pulse ox bill to the full House for a vote.  This legislation would require pulse ox screenings for all newborns in Pennsylvania before leaving the hospital.

Pulse ox screening is a low-cost, non-invasive and painless bedside diagnostic test that can be completed by a technician in as little as 45 seconds. Pulse ox testing is conducted to estimate the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen. When the screening identifies newborns with low blood oxygen concentration, additional testing can be completed to detect heart defects or other life-threatening conditions that could have gone undetected.

Thank you to all the wonderful families that have given their time to support this issue and share their stories. Please take the time to visit our action center and send your legislator a message letting them know that this issue is important to you.

Read More

Advocate Spotlight: Amiee, Chad and Emilee Mathews

Amiee, Chad and Emilee Mathews Pennsylvania

Emilee was born on October 11, 2003, with what was considered a slight heart murmur.  Within months, Dr. Paul Chlpka recognized Emilee’s heart murmur was intensifying and promptly referred us to Dr. Grace Smith a pediatric cardiologist.  Dr. Smith informed us that Emilee’s heart murmur was caused by an atrial septal defect (ASD), or a hole between the two upper chambers of her heart.  Over time, this would cause the right upper chamber (right atrium) to become overworked and enlarged, eventually damaging her heart. 

At 21 months of age, Emilee had a follow-up echocardiogram to monitor her ASD.  It was determined that it had almost doubled in size prompting the recommendation of Dr. Smith and her colleagues for Emilee to undergo surgery, before her heart was permanently damaged.  On September 12, 2005, Emilee underwent open-heart surgery at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio.  That day surgeons took a piece of the Emilee’s pericardium, a protective sac around the heart, to close up the hole in her heart.  Within 24 hours she was out of the ICU.  On day 3 with the IV still in her foot, Emilee was playing games and riding a Pooh bike through the halls.  Her surgeons rounded the corner and responded, “I think we can let her go home now,”   Emilee is now a healthy and active 9 year old.   She enjoys gymnastics, swimming, soccer and dancing. 

Donations to the American Heart Association are what allow for the development of procedures, techniques and early detection that are saving the lives of countless children today just like Emilee.  Our daughter’s heart is now considered normal, but there are many more heart children who are counting on your donation to give them and their parents hope for a long and healthy future.  Please open your heart so theirs can be made whole. 

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse