American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Congressman Marc Veasey Encourages Constituents to Get Healthy at AHA Event!

Congressman Marc Veasey recently attended an AHA luncheon in Arlington to promote Check.Change.Control and encourage his constituents to not only know their blood pressure reading, but control it.

 Why? High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 78 million Americans. It increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, and it can cause permanent damage to the heart before you even notice any symptoms.

 It’s particularly prevalent among African-Americans, who are 33 percent more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than other races. Yet despite how widespread it is and damaging it can be, high blood pressure is still unknown, misunderstood or ignored by many people.

 That’s why the American Heart Association offers Check. Change. Control. The program began in 2013 and is uniquely tailored for communities around the country to help African-Americans monitor their blood pressure.

 Learn more at:

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How Healthy is Your County?

Here's a great, newly updated for 2014 resource for you to check out!  You can visit, click your state and then see where your county stacks up against others when looking at morbidity or mortality, or numerous different health factors.  Do you live in one of the healthies counties or one of the least healthy?  No matter where you land, you can always visit our AHA Action Center and contact your lawmakers about making your state a healthier place to live, work and play!

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Heart Felt Heart Stone and Legislative Reception

A young volunteer whose life was saved by numerous community members when she suffered multiple cardiac arrests during and after an Essex swim meet is now giving back to help others.

Payton Jones of Vergennes will be honored at the American Heart Association's Legislative Reception from 4:30-6pm on April 10th at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Payton has created Hopeful Heart Stones that she sells to raise money for the American Heart Association and get Vermonters to cherish the heart and life they have.

Each stone comes with the following message:

Little Hearts Hold Big Hopes

"This Hopeful Heart Stone is for you to carry
in your pocket or purse as a reminder to cherish
each day and to be thankful for all of the things
in your life. When things get tough, remember to
reach inside your heart and look for hope to pull you through."

Come to our reception, support our advocacy priorities, meet Payton, and pick up a stone. It'll help your heart and others!


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Get moving Vermont and take some tips from a Vermont Olympian!

If you missed National Walking Day on April 2nd, don't fret. You can still get out and move! 

Come hear Vermont Olympian Andy Newell speak at our legislative reception April 10th at 4:30-6pm at the Statehouse in Montpelier. Newell is a country skier who will talk about his recent experience in Sochi and the importance of physical activity.

Then check out some of the following events that are happening in Vermont and are to get you moving and be healthy.

And Vermonters NEED to get moving! Over 58% of VT adults and nearly 27% of our kids are overweight or obese. One in six Vermont adults didn’t participate in any physical activity last month! And only 13% of Vermont middle school students participated in physical education class every day.

That’s why we’re pushing for legislation to increase PE in schools and offer all Vermonters more places to move, play and exercise. Help us with our advocacy efforts by speaking with your legislators. And help your health by participating in one of the events below:

May 7: Vermont Walk and Roll to School Day and Intergenerational Walk

May 7: National Bike School Day

May 12-16 2014: Way to Go! Week 

Get your clean commute on by walking, biking or car-pooling to school. More info on these events can be found at

September 27th: The American Heart Walk at Oakledge Park in Burlington. Click here to sign up for a walk team today!

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Vermont Superhero Tommy Watson and Governor Kunin

As National Superhero Day, April 28th draws near, we're sending a big "shout-out" to Tommy Watson. Tommy worked with the American Heart Association two years ago to pass legislation requiring Hands-only CPR to be taught in health classes in Vermont schools. And, like the Energizer Bunny, this super kid keeps on going and going and going! Tommy has now trained over 1,300 people this life-saving skill.

Tommy is pictured here teaching former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin Hands-only CPR at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon in January. Governor Kunin, by the way, was one of Vermont's first Go Red Leading Ladies helping us spread the word about women and heart disease.

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Save the Date: North Carolina State Lobby Day 2014!

Mark your calendars now! Reserve Tuesday May 27 and Wednesday May 28 for the 2014 NC AHA You're the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day.

The event will begin at 3:00 pm on Tuesday May 27th with an issues overview, advocacy training, and dinner with your fellow advocates. The following day will be spent at the legislature, meeting face to face with lawmakers, and will wrap up at 3:00 pm. To register email Kacie Kennedy at

This year we will be talking about important policies that will build a healthier North Carolina and your presence is needed. Make plans now to join us. Save the dates today!

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Welcome, Kim!

The Mid-Atlantic Government Relations team is pleased to announce that the American Heart Association Grassroots’ staff is growing.  Please join us in welcoming to our team, Kim Chidester, Director of Grassroots and Local Advocacy.  Kim will be focusing on North and South Carolina and is based out of our office in Charlotte.  Kim’s first day was January 13th and we are excited to have her on board.   Read this greeting from Kim and then comment below to welcome her to the American Heart Association and You’re the Cure!


Greetings from the Queen City!

I am beyond excited to join the AHA Grassroots and Advocacy family of North and South Carolina.  Before we work together, I will fill you in a little bit on who I am.  I was born and raised in Charlotte (I’m told I’m 1 of 4 natives!) and I am the third of four kids.  I graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a major in Business Management, and I am very much a huge “Niner Nation” football fan.  I have a Shih Tzu I adore, and in my free time (when I have it) I am an incredibly passionate and devoted Carolina Panthers fan (I am always happy to talk football any day of the week!), I love to run and play golf, and travel to the mountains of NC.  The wineries aren’t too bad to visit either!

I am most excited to be joining this team because I feel like our priorities really make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.  Throughout my professional career, my main objective has been to serve and to work for my volunteers and our community in the ways that will most make the largest, most positive impact - and the greatest part of coming to AHA is that we do this every day.  I know that in 2014 and beyond we will continue to make a deep imprint with the AHA policies and programs in the communities where we work, and I’m really looking forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you.   

With Heart,


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I'm Too Young To Have A Heart Attack

Part I of a Special Guest Series by Steve Irigoyen, a You’re the Cure Advocate who’s an 8-time heart attack survivor and 2-time stroke survivor

The reason I advocate is because someone advocated for me and I want to give back.  It’s my turn to go out and save another life.  My first heart attack was in 1999, I was getting ready for my son Tristan’s open house at school and I had a bit of a headache, some chest pains and a touch of nausea.  My left arm started to hurt a bit but I was in a hurry to get out the door and just shook it off.  Must have been a touch of the flu or a cold I thought to myself. 

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you who was more excited for the open house – me or Tristan!  At 5 years of age, Tristan was very excited to be in kindergarten.  Although he was a bit of a mommy and daddy’s boy who loved being at either my ex-wife’s house or mine - he truly relished being at school and making new friends.  For weeks he’d been working on craft projects with his new teacher and really looked forward to showing them off.

On the way to the open house, my headache got worse.  I stopped off at 7-Eleven to pick up some Tylenol, and then was back on the road and shortly arrived at the school.  The open house was great – I enjoyed meeting Tristan’s teacher, and of course all the artwork Tristan had so lovingly made.  Tristan went home with his mom and I headed back to my condo. 

When I arrived home the headache and pain in my chest had not gone away, so I decided to call my sister Roberta, who knows all kinds of homemade remedies.  After telling Roberta my symptoms she said, “Steve! You’re having a heart attack!” and I didn’t believe her.  So she put her husband on the line and I reiterated my symptoms and he said, “Steve, you’re having a heart attack! Call 911 right now!”

I replied, “I’m 39 years old. There’s no way I’m having a heart attack.  But I’ll drive to the hospital and get myself checked out.” 

I walked to the garage to get back in the car – and hit the floor.  The crushing pain knocked me down.  Despite my protests, fortunately Roberta dialed 911.  Because of her quickness to call 911, and a robust emergency response system, I was saved.  

Since my heart attack, I’ve learned that sadly, where you have a heart attack matters in terms of the type of care you receive.  Where I lived in Rancho Cucamonga, there was a quick emergency response system in place ensuring that heart attack patients arrived to the right hospital with advanced cardiac equipment.  Part of my advocacy work now with the American Heart Association is advocating for timely emergency response systems.  Everyone deserves the best chance at quick, timely treatment!    Join me by taking action here on to help ensure that all cardiac patients get the best of care.



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