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Little Heart Hero Day

The American Heart Association recently hosted an event for children with congenital heart defects and their families to come together for fun activities, support, and networking. The event included heart healthy snacks, fun activities like face painting, crafts, games, and more. Kids came by the Advocacy Table to play instruments and draw pictures on petitions asking the Connecticut Public Health Commissioner to support mandatory Pulse Oximetry testing on all newborns. The test is a noninvasive tool to diagnose critical congenital heart disease.   

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Susan Kosman, Board Chair of CT Board Directors

Volunteerism provides me with a deeper connection to my community. The American Heart Association holds a special connection for me. My father died at home of a heart attack at the age of 47. I was 14. While this influenced many areas of my life, it most certainly affected my choice of profession. My first role out of nursing school was on a pediatric unit which provided cardiac care.  The AHA has promoted many advances in cardiac care that have delivered real and significant positive impacts to many families.

I have had the pleasure of being involved on a national level with The AHA Teaching Garden program. This program partners sponsors with schools to create gardens and provide curriculum on healthy eating for both students and their families. The opportunity to build the garden, plant and harvest with the students have been some of the most rewarding activities I have ever been involved in. To see children truly excited about fruits and vegetables is amazing!

I have been on the board of the Connecticut chapter for a few years and have taken on the role of chair this year. A benefit of volunteering is the opportunity to collaborate with the accomplished and talented members of the CT AHA Board and the staff of AHA. I  am excited to advance the great work already underway including increasing the number of Connecticut towns that are designated Heart Safe and continuing to educate on the benefits of CPR in schools and workplaces.  

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AHA Honors Youth for Advocacy Work

The American Heart Association, along with state and congressional leaders, recently honored three Ellington high school students who were instrumental in getting a Connecticut State Board of Education resolution passed calling for public school districts to train CPR and AED awareness to their students. The three students, members of Ellington Rescue Post 512, performed a CPR / Change of Survival demonstration to Board members before the resolution came up for a vote. Under the resolution, the life-saving resources will be available by 2015-16 and all schools should be accessing them by 2016-17.  

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Calling on the Feds to do More to Discourage Young People from Getting Hooked on E-Cigs

The American Heart Association’s John Bailey, State Director of Government Relations, participated in a press conference with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expedite implementation of proposed regulations banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. AHA believes e-cigarettes should be subject to all laws that apply to tobacco products, including a ban on sales to individuals under 18. The latest CDC data from 2013 show that more than a quarter of a million kids who had never smoked a cigarette use e-cigarettes, a three-fold increase in just two years. AHA is especially concerned that the aggressive marketing campaigns, are luring children and adolescents to try these products.

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Bill Signing for Sudden Cardiac Arrest Education Legislation

The American Heart Association recently attended the bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 229 “An Act Concerning Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention”. Advocacy  worked closely with State Senators Senator Carlo Leone and Bob Duff, along with the Pena Family whose son died of a SCA, in passing legislation creating an education program for coaches, high school athletes, and parents to help recognize the signs and to take the steps needed in responding to a SCA event on the athletic field. Time is critical when a youth athlete suffers a SCA on the field of play, and the more information parents, coaches, and athletes know about SCA the more lives can be saved.

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State Board of Ed Votes to Support CPR Training for CT Students

American Heart Association Advocacy Volunteer Bruce Hoffman, along with members of the Ellington Rescuer Post 512, presented a CPR / Chain of Survival demonstration at the July meeting of the State Board of Education before board members passed a resolution including CPR training to the Health Curriculum. The resolution instructs the staff of the State Department of Education to work with AHA, along with other CPR training groups, to identify and leverage local resources for school districts to offer CPR training. The resolution also set out a timeline for school districts to access the resources and to have all schools training their students.

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Little PALs Learn Hands Only CPR

Staff from the American Heart Association's Advocacy, Development, ECC Departments partnered with Yale New Haven Hospital at this year’s New Haven Police Athletic League Camp. AHA’s staff led a Hands Only CPR demonstration at the recent safety day. Approximately 160 kids ranging from ages 10-13 participated in the demo. The kids enjoyed a fun and entertaining program while learning the lifesaving CPR.   

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The Start of Summer Brings New Board Members to CT AHA

The American Heart Association of Connecticut has a new board of directors who have already committed to helping move AHA’s legislative agenda at the State Capitol. The new crop of board members have all been touched in one way or another by heart disease and stroke and are committed in assisting AHA with achieving its 2020 impact goal, improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.

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A Star Comes to Connecticut

The American Heart Association recently held its Fairfield County Go Red for Women luncheon, which was attended by more than 400 guest learning how to combat heart disease and stroke, the number one and three killers among women. The guests were treated to Star Jones, who was the key note speaker and is a national volunteer for the American Heart Association. Ms. Jones had open heart surgery in 2010.

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Rocky Supports CPR in Schools

The American Heart Association collected signatures for a petition calling for CPR training in Connecticut schools at a recent New Britain Rock Cat’s game. As part of National EMS Week, members of the EMS community and American Heart’s Mission Lifeline project were recognized during the night game. It was great evening for fans who watched their Rock Cats triumph over the Richmond Flying Squirrels while showing their appreciate to the folks who make their communities heart safe.

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