American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Advocacy Volunteers Needed for Fall Heart Walks!

The Advocacy department needs 4-6 volunteers for our upcoming Heart Walks listed below. We will need help throughout the day working at the Advocacy information table, collecting petition cards and recruiting new advocates to our network.  Volunteers are needed for a four hour shift. All volunteers will receive a You’re the Cure t-shirt.

Please let us know if you’re interested or if you know friends and family members that are interested in helping volunteer for this event by contacting Rae O’Neill at including the event name, the names of those willing to volunteer, and their t-shirt size.

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

McHenry County Heart Walk

Dole Mansion – Crystal Lake, IL

Volunteers needed from 4:30 pm-8:30pm


Saturday, September 20th, 2014

McLean County Heart Walk

ISU Track – Bloomington, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15 am-1:00pm


Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Palos Hills Heart Walk

Moraine Valley Community College – Palos Hills, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15 am-11:00am


Friday, September 26th, 2014

Downtown Chicago Heart Walk

Upper Hutchinson Field in Grant Park – Chicago, IL

Volunteers needed from 10:30 am-1:00pm


Saturday, September 27th, 2014

East Central Illinois Heart Walk

Robert C. Porter Family Park – Champaign, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15-1:00pm


Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Oak Brook Heart Walk

Oak Brook Sports Core – Oak Brook, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15am-11:00am


Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Lake Forest Heart Walk

Grainger Campus – Lake Forest, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15am-11:00am


Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Southern Illinois Heart Walk

John A. Logan College – Carterville, IL

Volunteers needed from 7:15am-11:00am


Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Tri-County Peoria Heart Walk

Festival Park @ Peoria Riverfront

Volunteers needed from 6:30 am-12pm


See you at the Heart Walks!

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Senator Mattie Hunter's Health and Education Fair

On August 2nd, at Senator Mattie Hunter's Health and Education Fair, the American Heart Association and the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity partnered to educate over 500 individuals on the health impact of sugar sweetened beverages and the HEAL ACT. Volunteers collected surveys gauging the audiences' knowledge and decision-making regarding sugar sweetened beverages.

The American Heart Association and IAPO also took time during the event to present Senator Hunter with a Public Health Champion Award. Senator Hunter was all smiles as she accepted the prestigious award.

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Illinois Schools Observe New Law Requiring CPR, AED Training

Check out the article below from the Kane County Chronicle putting Lauren's Law into action. (Photo credit - Sandy Bressner, Shaw Media)

George Laman, whose teenage daughter died six years ago after collapsing during a drill team practice at St. Charles North High School, hopes that a new, potentially lifesaving law she inspired is taken seriously by teachers and students.

"If you have an emergency situation, you don’t have time to think," the Campton Hills resident said. "If you pay attention, you have a much better chance of being successful."

Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed the Lauren Laman Bill into law, requiring all students in Illinois high schools to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and to administer CPR. Continue reading here.

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A Great Year for Heart-Health Policy in Illinois

Thanks to the hard work of advocates like YOU, Illinois had another great year in moving heart-health policies forward. Together, we have worked to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke and we have much to celebrate this year!

Below is a brief summary of this year’s legislative highlights:

Lauren Laman CPR and AED training law – HB 3724 signed on June 5, 2014

Starting in the upcoming 2014-15 school year, all Illinois high-schools must begin training students in both CPR and how to use an AED thanks to the Lauren Laman Law. The training will include hands-on practice with a CPR mannequin and an AED, creating a new generation of life-savers every year.

Hospital Stroke Center Designation – HB 5742 awaiting Gov’s signature

Following the Governor’s signature, expected later this summer, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health will have the legal framework to designate Comprehensive Stroke Centers and Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals. In practical terms, this will make the whole of Illinois’ stroke system greater than the sum of its parts, ensuring that patients suffering from a stroke will be taken to the right hospital, right away.

State Stroke Registry – HB 5742 cont.

Illinois will also be better able to assess and improve system-wide quality with regard to stroke care thanks to legislation which creates a small but sufficient dedicated funding stream to create a state stroke registry. State stroke registries are highly recommended by AHA/ASA national experts, because "you can’t improve what you don’t measure."

PE Taskforce – HB 5397 awaiting Gov’s signature

Illinois will soon begin to measure and improve physical education programs in schools throughout the state with the help of a newly created Enhanced PE Task Force. The Taskforce will recommend criteria to assess school fitness programs based on national standards, as well as the creation of reporting protocols which will allow the Illinois State Board of Education to get a clear picture on school fitness programs throughout the state.

Illinois EMS Alliance – SB 3414 awaiting Gov’s signature; HB 4523 awaiting Gov’s signature; etc.

The Illinois EMS Alliance, created in part by the AHA/ASA and key members of our Illinois Advocacy Committee, had a successful first year, playing a critical role in helping to pass many of the initiatives mentioned above. The Illinois EMS Alliance also helped to pass bills which will: help align Illinois’ EMS training and education with national standards, and; allow licensed Pre-Hospital RNs to use the full range of their medical skills to save a life if they are aboard an ambulance licensed at a lower level.

Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax

The legislature took important steps towards the creation of an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages aimed at incentivizing healthier consumer choices. Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate, and a subject matter hearing was held in the Senate. While these bill did not make it through to final passage, they did succeed in starting a conversation in Springfield and around the state about the health impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, helping many Illinoisans realize for the first time that a standard 12-ounce can of pop actually contains 10 packets worth of sugar.

Thank you for your ongoing support and action this year! Please watch for opportunities over the coming weeks to thank your lawmakers for their leadership of heart-health policies this year.

We can’t spell CURE without U!

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Share Your Story: Dustin Palmer

Dustin Palmer Salem, IL

Last fall I was a normal guy, working a normal job, living a normal life..if there is such a thing.  I was in good shape..running several miles a day and working out.  And spending every minute I could with my beautiful two year old boy.  Then it all changed.  One day after work I felt my heart was beating E.R. visit and testing showed that I had a large aneurysm and my aortic valve had malfunctioned.  I was being referred to Barnes Jewish Hospital for further evaluation.

I was admitted there a little over a week later, expecting to undergo one open heart surgery to repair these issues, but my journey had just begun.  A kinked coronary artery and weakened, enlarged heart led to several more open heart surgeries, weeks on life support, and the placement of an LVAD (artificial heart pump).
I am home now, recovering better than expected, but waiting for the phone call that means I have a new heart waiting on me.  The gift of ones life will be what saves me, and I am not blind to how hard that will be for their family.

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Teaching Gardens = Learning Laboratories for Kids

Studies show that when kids grow their own fruits and vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s the idea behind the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens.  While 1/3 of American children are classified as overweight or obese, AHA Teaching Gardens is fighting this unhealthy trend by giving children access to healthy fruits and vegetables and instilling a life time appreciation for healthy foods.

Aimed at first through fifth graders, we teach children how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits. Garden-themed lessons teach nutrition, math, science and other subjects all while having fun in the fresh air and working with your hands.

Over 270 gardens are currently in use nationwide reaching and teaching thousands of students, with more gardens being added every day.  You can find an American Heart Association Teaching Garden in your area here or email to find how you can get involved.


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AHA Presents Awards to Illinois Doctors

This week at the Board and Committee meetings in Dallas Texas, awards were presented to two Illinois doctors. We would like to take a moment to say congratulations, and thank them for their hard work and dedication to the American Heart Association

 Gold Heart Award

Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc, FAHA

Clyde is chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. He was AHA president in 2009-10. A volunteer for more than 20 years, Clyde has been a highly effective national spokesperson for the AHA. He has also contributed to multiple AHA scientific statements and guidelines and most recently was the writing committee chair for the 2013 ACCF/AHA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure and a leader in exploring innovative approaches as a member of the joint ACCF/AHA Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Clyde is currently a member of the Metro Chicago board, and is actively engaged in Power To End Stroke, Voices for Healthy Kids and Target: Heart Failure.

As president, Clyde provided steadfast leadership as the AHA worked toward and achieved its longtime advocacy priority of healthcare reform. Clyde also served on the writing committee that created the AHA's 2020 Impact Goal, and coined the term "Life's Simple 7" to help consumers understand key health factors and behaviors. As an AHA volunteer Clyde has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of cultural disparities in health care. In Dallas, where he was president in 1995-96, he helped establish the African-American Task Force, and in Chicago, where he relocated in 2011, he has helped develop board priorities for health equity and hypertension in minorities. In 2003, he received the AHA's Physician of the Year Award.

 Physician of the Year Award

Neil J. Stone, MD, FAHA

Neil is the Robert Bonow, MD Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. He is being honored for nearly three decades of exemplary service to advance the AHA's efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and cardiovascular risk modification.

An internationally recognized expert in preventive cardiology and lipidology, Neil has contributed his scientific expertise as a longtime member of the Nutrition Committee (which he chaired from 1993-95) as well as the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism (now the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health), the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology and the Council on Clinical Cardiology. He has made key contributions to numerous AHA statements and guidelines, including as co-chairperson of the 2011 scientific statement, "Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease." In addition, he was chairperson of the ACC/AHA expert panel that created the 2013 Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults, a paradigm-shifting contribution to the care of patients. He has been an associate editor for the AHA Learning Library since 2006.

As an AHA volunteer and with the patients he sees every day, Neil is a fervent proponent of lifestyle intervention, especially diet and physical activity. He has published more than 150 research papers, and is co-author of the textbook, "Management of Lipids in Clinical Practice," now in its 7th edition.

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Player's Life Saved by CPR and AED at Basketball Game

Just days after Gov. Quinn signed Lauren’s Law , requiring all Illinois high schools to offer CPR and AED training in the curriculum, a Porta High School student’s life was saved when his coach and bystander performed CPR and used an AED after he collapsed during a basketball game. Check out the great story from WICS below.

On June 5, Gov. Quinn signed Lauren's Law, a requirement for high school students to learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator. Two days after, a Porta High School student collapsed at a school event, and with the help of an AED, his life was saved.

"I've been around basketball and I played in college, watched it all the time, and I've never experienced anything like it," said Nick Rathgeb, varsity basketball coach at Porta High School.

Rathgeb was the first to reach his varsity player, Nick Atterberry, on the court after he collapsed seven minutes into a school basketball game.  Continue reading here

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Lauren’s Law Signed by Governor Quinn

On June 5, 2014, Governor Quinn signed Lauren’s Law! This law will require all Illinois secondary schools to include CPR and AED training in their curriculum starting with this upcoming 2014-15 school year. Below is an AHA news release on the new law. Check out photos from the signing on our Facebook page here.

Illinois firefighters and advocates from the American Heart Association applauded Governor Quinn for signing House Bill 3724 into law at the annual Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois convention in Bloomington-Normal. The legislation, which takes effect immediately, will require Illinois high schools to add Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training to their curriculum.

"This legislation will create a new generation of lifesavers in Illinois," said Lynne T. Braun, PhD, Chair of the American Heart Association’s Illinois Advocacy Committee.

The bill was named for Lauren Laman, a 17-year-old in St. Charles, IL, who collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest during dance practice at school. CPR was not given before EMS arrived and no AED was used, even though there was one nearby. Lauren’s family members worked closely with Representative Dan Burke, Senator John Mulroe, and the American Heart Association to advocate for this new law.

"I am thankful for the support my family and I have received to make the Lauren Laman Law possible," said George Laman, Lauren Laman’s father. "Without Representative Dan Burke, Senator John Mulroe, President Pat Devaney of The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI) and Illinois State Fire Marshall Larry Matkaitis, Alex Meixner of the American Heart Association, Tom Lia of the National Sprinkler Advisory Board, Peg Paul – Publicist, Retired firefighter Steve Rose of Oak Park, and numerous proponents of House Bill 3724, we would not have required CPR/AED training in all Illinois High Schools for the 2014-2015 school year. This success is bittersweet because many lives will be saved in Lauren’s name. However, the cost of losing our daughter Lauren was a terrible price to pay. Lauren, we will love you forever!"

"We want to thank Governor Quinn for signing this bill into law, Representative Dan Burke for introducing it in the House and championing it throughout, and Senator John Mulroe for sponsoring it in the Senate," said Alex Meixner, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. "Most of all, we want to thank Lauren’s parents George and Mary and the entire Laman family for their unwavering commitment to building Lauren a permanent legacy in Illinois. We all know the math when it comes to CPR and AED training: the more people trained, the more lives saved, and both of those numbers are going to go up in years to come thanks to Lauren’s Law."

Approximately 424,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year, with an average survival rate of only 10 percent. Less than one-third of victims receive CPR from a bystander, and while AEDs are increasingly available, most people don’t know how to use them and are afraid to try.

However, bystander CPR can triple survival rates from cardiac arrest. If an AED is used in conjunction with CPR, the survival rate can jump to more than 50 percent.

"Studies show that trainees, including schoolchildren, can become proficient in CPR and AED use in 30 minutes or less," said Dr. Braun. "We have also learned that students who have practiced chest compressions on a CPR mannequin are more likely to use it during an emergency. We need a generation of people who won’t hesitate to act if someone near them collapses."

For more information on CPR and AED training, log on to, or learn how to perform hands-only CPR in less than one minute at

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