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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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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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What is Pediatric Cardiomyopathy?

Did you know that one in every 100,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 is diagnosed with a diseased state of the heart known as cardiomyopathy?  While it is a relatively rare condition in kids, it poses serious health risks, making early diagnosis important.  As the heart weakens due to abnormities of the muscle fibers, it loses the ability to pump blood effectively and heart failure or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias or dysrhythmia) may occur.

That’s why we’re proud to team up with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation this month- Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month- to make more parents aware of this condition (signs and symptoms) and to spread the word about the policy changes we can all support to protect our youngest hearts.
 
As a You’re the Cure advocate, you know how important medical research is to improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease.  And pediatric cardiomyopathy is no exception.  However, a serious lack of research on this condition leaves many unanswered questions about its causes.  On behalf of all young pediatric cardiomyopathy patients, join us in calling on Congress to prioritize our nation’s investment in medical research.
  
Additionally, we must speak-up to better equip schools to respond quickly to medical emergencies, such as cardiac arrest caused by pediatric cardiomyopathy.  State laws, like the one passed in Massachusetts, require schools to develop emergency medical response plans that can include:

  • A method to establish a rapid communication system linking all parts of the school campus with Emergency Medical Services
  • Protocols for activating EMS and additional emergency personnel in the event of a medical emergency
  • A determination of EMS response time to any location on campus
  • A method for providing training in CPR and First Aid to teachers, athletic coaches, trainers and others – which may include High School students
  • A listing of the location of AEDs and the school personnel trained to use the AED

CPR high school graduation requirements are another important measure to ensure bystanders, particularly in the school setting, are prepared to respond to a cardiac emergency.  19 states have already passed these life-saving laws and we’re on a mission to ensure every student in every state graduates ‘CPR Smart’.
   
With increased awareness and research of pediatric cardiomyopathy and policy changes to ensure communities and schools are able to respond to cardiac emergencies, we can protect more young hearts.

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy?  Join our new Support Network today to connect with others who share the heart condition.   

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Research & Advocacy = Results

In the last decade, U.S. hospitalization and death rates for heart disease and stroke have dropped significantly!  That means our research and your advocacy are paying off!  Let's keep it going to reach the American Heart Association’s 2020 goal — to improve the heart health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.  Learn more here:

http://blog.heart.org/study-finds-significant-drop-in-hospitalizations-deaths-from-heart-disease-stroke/

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Stillwater stepping up to be a heart-safe community

Check out this article from the Stillwater Gazette! They interviewed Justin Bell, AHA's Government Relations Director of MN, on the importance of AEDs.

A automatic external defibrillator (AED) uses recorded voice commands to help bystanders if a cardiac arrest is taking place. (Submitted photo)

With more than 420,000 reported cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) views quick emergency action as the only way to ensure survival. As the large baby boomer generation begins to age, the AHA is looking for ways to prepare for an expected increase in heart-related emergencies.

"As soon as signs of cardiac arrest are seen, it is a matter of minutes before death occurs," said Justin Bell, who oversees the AHA public policies. "You want to start the emergency chain of survival immediately." Continue Reading Here

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We've Come So Far Because of You, South Carolina!

The 2014 Legislative Session in South Carolina was a lively one, allowing us to advance some vital pieces of legislation while providing us room to continue in 2015.

Senate Bill 1094: School Nutrition Guidelines
This would have required stronger nutritional guidelines for competitive foods sold on school grounds during afterschool hours. Competitive foods include foods sold in vending machines, snack stores, and a la carte items in school cafeterias. The bill received a favorable report with amendments from the Senate Education Committee, but no action was taken by the full Senate once the bill was placed on the Senate calendar.

Senate Bill 160: CPR in Schools
This would have required all high school students to be proficient in hands-only CPR and AED awareness as part of the already required high school health education class. The bill received a favorable report with amendments from the House Education Committee, but no action was taken by the full House once the bill was placed on the House calendar.

This issue continues to be vital to residents of South Carolina, even during the summer months when the legislature is not in session. Please email your elected officials today and let them know you support CPR in schools.

Tobacco Control Funding
We advocated during the appropriations process for an additional $8 million in tobacco control funding from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. We were able to protect the $5 million in funding for tobacco control received yearly from cigarette tax revenue.

Smoke-Free Victories
Three more communities across the state adopted smoke-free ordinances, joining 55 other South Carolina municipalities, for a total of 58 cities/counties, covering 39% of the state's population!

As part of the You're the Cure team, you've helped us make GREAT strides this year toward improving the lives of South Carolina citizens. We will be revisiting each of these issues in 2015 and have no doubt we will see major victories in the Palmetto State!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all you do. You are our hero.

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Robbie MacCue: He may not wear a cape but he's still a hero.

Robbie MacCue knows a thing or two about saving lives.  As a paramedic, Robbie knows firsthand that CPR buys time for victims until first responders arrive at the scene. That’s why Robbie volunteers at local schools to teach students CPR.  And this past month Robbie put his skills to good use by joining the American Heart Association as we talked with Governor Cuomo’s office about the importance of CPR.  Robbie showed the Governor’s staff how simple it is to perform hands-only CPR. 

Imagine how many more lifesavers we could have if all students learned how to perform hands-only CPR prior to graduation. 

Thanks Robbie!

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Saving lives is why...

Why fight for healthy hearts?  Why fight against strokes? Here in New York State, heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 4 killers.  Our family is why.  Our friends are why.  Why advocate for heart healthy policies?  Saving lives is why.

And while the state legislature is on break, we are continuing to monitor bills that will be sent to Governor Cuomo Cuomo.   The first is the CPR in Schools bill.  We made it past the first hurdle when the bill passed the Assembly and the Senate.  Now we are turning our attention to the Governor's office, the State Education Department and the Board of Regents.    We've met with Governor Cuomo's staff and the State Education Department...and we know we will need many voices to make sure CPR in Schools becomes a reality in New York.  Here are the next steps:

First: Governor Cuomo needs to sign the bill.

Second: The Commissioner of the State Education Department needs to issue a report regarding CPR/AED instruction in the curriculum.

Last: The Board of Regents must approve the recommendations.

Now, we need your help with the next step.  It's easy...just click below to tell Governor Cuomo it is time for NYS students to be CPR smart!

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35278

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Is Your Community HeartSafe?

The Rhode Island HeartSafe Community Program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Health’s Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program and the American Heart Association. This initiative is based on the principle that lives can be saved by being prepared with early access to care, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced care. The goals of the RI HeartSafe Community Program are to:

 

 

  • Increase the number of community members trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);
  • Increase the number of first responders equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs); and
  • Ensure appropriate pre-arrival instructions and optimize the prehospital care system.

The following towns have been designated as Rhode Island HeartSafe Communities and received program signs and decals to proudly display in their communities:

  • Narraganset: August 2014
  • Portsmouth: February 2014
  • Cumberland: December 2013
  • Barrington: September 2013
  • Coventry: April 2013
  • East Providence: April 2012
  • South Kingstown: October 2010
  • Warwick: January 2010
  • Westerly: January 2010, renewed April 2013

Is your city/town on the list? If not, start a conversation in your community and urge your city/town leaders to become HeartSafe! For more information, visit the Department of Health’s website: http://www.health.ri.gov/programs/heartsafecommunities/index.php.

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Our new anthem: life is why

School behavioral specialist Carla Leonard had her hand on her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance when a heart attack nearly killed her. Her doctor didn’t mince words with her family afterward: “If I didn’t have surgery, they should pick out a dress for my funeral,” she said. “Plain and simple.”

But Leonard wanted to live — to see her daughter graduate from high school — so after surgery she started on a new path that continues today. She kicked her soda habit, started visiting her doctor regularly and got healthy enough to experience many important milestones in her life.

Leonard exemplifies the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s new brand tagline, “Life Is Why.” The phrase, which began appearing with the logo on Heart.org on Aug. 1, is much more than a slogan. It’s the singular idea that stands behind all the lifesaving work the AHA has carried out for 90  years – and it’s the very basic idea that people should be healthier so they can enjoy their lives more.

“The work we do matters,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “It has mattered to my family and I’m sure it has mattered to your family. Life is why.”

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Brown’s grandfather had a blockage of his carotid artery in the early 1970s. During surgery, he suffered a stroke, and his life was never the same — nor was his family’s. He died a few years later after another stroke. “I missed my grandfather then and I continue to miss him today,” Brown said.

But she pointed out that scientific research and treatment guidelines have led to much better outcomes for many others in the decades that followed. One of those survivors is Brown’s sister, who is thriving despite two recent strokes. She received treatment at one of the AHA’s primary stroke centers, helping her working through rehabilitation and regain her life.

“My sister is why, my grandfather is why — and all of you are why,” Brown told the organization’s volunteers and staff when announcing the adaptation of “Life Is Why” as a focal point of the AHA’s brand.

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke — the two leading causes of death in the world. The AHA fights these diseases through a wide variety of tactics, yet “Life Is Why” can be attached to every facet of the organization’s work.

Life is why the AHA helps people eat healthier foods and get more active — among the many activities the organization has to help people live healthier lives.

Life is why Roni Noone decided to lose weight so she could enjoy her life with her family.

Noone, a 38-year-old Baltimore mom who struggled with her weight in her teens and 20s, has lost a total of 70 pounds because she wants to be there for those special moments with her family. She has joined a gym and even run a marathon – saying she didn’t want to set a poor health example for her sons Ryan, 9, and Evan, 3.

Roni Noone is motivated by the special moments with her family.

“Last year I took Ryan whitewater rafting, and it was really emotional for me. Now I’m doing all the things I got healthy for,” said Noone, a fitness blogger who’s also writing a book. “I want to run a half-marathon with him when he’s 18. And I want to be able to do all these things that I’m doing in my 30s when I’m in my 50s.”

Life is why the American Heart Association has funded more than $3.6 billion in heart disease and stroke research, more than any other organization outside the federal government. Life is why the association works to develop treatment guidelines that help healthcare providers follow scientifically proven treatment standards.

Life is why the AHA is the nation’s leader in CPR training and science, and why the AHA has helped pass many laws and policies that have improved the public health. In fact, now that 17 states have passed laws requiring CPR as a high school graduation requirement, more than 1 million seniors will leave school every year with this lifesaving skill.

Leonard, 52, has gone on to be an AHA advocate for CPR in schools and screenings to detect heart defects in newborns. And she did get to see her daughter Yasmine finish high school, just one of many milestones she has experienced since her surgery eight years ago.

“The highlight of them all was when I heard that my child had used my life-and-death experience to write her entrance essay for college,” she said. “I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I did not waste the second chance I was given.”

And as 13-year-old Natalia Bascunan of Nutley, New Jersey, will attest, loved ones and special moments are the most important illustration of Life Is Why. Natalia made the Little League all-star team years after facing two open-heart surgeries for a heart defect.

“They loved it because she was the only girl in the state on an all-boys team,” said Natalia’s mom, Roe Corsi. “When they found out she had a heart condition, they loved her even more.”

Another person who has embraced life’s special moments thanks to better health is Bernie Dennis, a longtime volunteer with the AHA who is now the chairman of the board.

Dennis said he didn’t appreciate the risks he was taking with his health until he had three heart attacks in one month, followed by a quadruple bypass. While he recovered, he started realizing some of the things he’d taken for granted.

“I can remember the fact that I was sitting on my porch saying to myself, ‘this is the first time in my life I’ve appreciated the warmth of the sun in May,’” he said.

Getting healthier has meant Dennis has gone on to experience precious family time that he would’ve missed. A high school graduation. A wedding. Playing with his “two beautiful granddaughters.” And dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmas.

“There’s a choice you get to make about living or not living,” he said. “My wife’s hand gave me reason to live. My wonderful family gave me reason to live.”

Learn more at www.lifeiswhy.org 

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