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Giving Thanks for a Great Year!

As fall draws to a close, we are taking the time to thank all of our volunteers and celebrating a great year. Together, You’re the Cure advocates, like you, successfully advocated for heart healthy and stroke smart policies in their communities and states. We could not achieve the positive change in our communities without each and everyone of you. We are truly thankful for all that you do!

Below are just a few of the accomplishments we are thankful for this year: 

 

  1. Six new states require CPR as a graduation requirement. That means over 1.1 million students will be trained in life-saving CPR every year! With your help, we can add even more states to this list!
  2. Twelve new states require newborn screening for congenital heart defects before they leave the hospital. The earlier we can detect an issue with these little hearts, the better chances at a healthy life. Thirty-two states now require this screening.
  3. A half-a-dozen states increased funding for heart disease and stroke related programs.
  4. Advocates from all over the country made their voice heard in Washington D.C. on issues from more physical education in school to increasing funding for more heart and stroke research.

Once again, thank you for all the work you have done this year and for years to come! We cannot wait to see what the next 12 months brings us, but with your help, we know we will improve the lives of heart and stroke patients across the country.

Want to learn more about what we do? Check out the video below and share it with others!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

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November is National Family Caregivers Month.

Each November, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognizes National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to acknowledge the millions of family caregivers who are caring for their loved ones with a chronic disease. With 2.2 million stroke family caregivers in the U.S., the AHA/ASA strives to provide the post-stroke resources, information, and recognition family caregivers need to not only help their loved one, but to find the time for self-care they often lose. Join us in recognizing these amazing caregivers this November and beyond.

Click here to visit our website to get more information about National Family Caregivers Month and check out our five easy ways to help support the campaign:

  • Download and share Caregiver Resources to help you and/or your loved ones through the caregiving journey.
     
  • Join the new Support Network to connect with other stroke survivors and caregivers, share your story and more. 
     
  • Recognize your family caregiver by nominating him/her as a Stroke Hero on ASA's Facebook page.
     
  • Take the Spot A Stroke F.A.S.T. Quiz so you can be prepared in a stroke emergency.
     
  • If you're a healthcare professional or provider, you can also use our resources available on the Stroke Resource Center to help educate your staff, patients and community about stroke.  

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Share Your Story: Thomas Armstrong

Thomas Armstrong West Lafayette, IN

Thomas Armstrong's Journey

In February of 2014 my father, siblings and I were faced with a horrible decision, a life changing decision.  He was admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis. We were told my father was suffering from a condition called Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).  What was that?  None of us have ever heard of this condition or even knew what it was.  PAD is a condition where the arteries began to harden, resulting in a limited amount of blood flow to his lower extremities. His feet and legs were what was described as Blood Pooling.  The surgeon's hope was to restore the blood flow back to his legs/feet, but after further investigation they had told us there was no hope to save them, that his condition had worsened.  What's our options? Amputation of both limbs.  One just below the knee and the other just above.

So his journey began. My dad was always a walker. Every morning, day and night he walked. So when the doctors told him/us that he may never get to walk again. It was NOT an option. He would walk again.  He told his home physical therapist he would walk again, not only would he walk again, but he would walk by his Birthday.  My dad's birthday is on July 29th and I am happy to say that my dad took his very first step on July 26th with the inspiration of his grandson Dakota, who was his walking buddy.

He has a lot of work still ahead of him and yes there are day where he just wants to give up, but as amazing as my dad is he wakes up every day and puts his prosthesis on and walks. Of course it's hard and yes it frustrating, but my dad's faith and inner strength helps him succeed every time he gets up on his feet.  His team of care takers are an amazing team. The encouragement they give him is unbelievable. He was given the nickname Amazing Tom, because no matter the challenge put in front of him, he conquers it.

My dad's life changed that day, our lives changed that day. There are days I get upset, because had we known that there was a disease called Peripheral Arterial Disease, then just maybe things could have been different. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of deaths today, but sadly one of the least funded. There are many forms of heart disease and one of those forms my father suffers from. Not only does this disease affect the heart and lower limbs, but also every organ within the body. Without blood flow our bodies cannot survive. I have become involved in the American Heart Association because of my father and many others like him and my family. Everyone needs to be aware of this disease.
 
My dad is an amazing person who has just started his new journey. Some people think it is a horrible thing, but I have to say... change this to be positive. After all... doctors, nurses and Physical Therapist didn't believe my dad would walk again, but look at him today. He is a survivor. He would like to send a message to all who will listen. If you are a smoker, STOP. Smoking is one of the major contributors to Peripheral Arterial Disease. You can follow my dad's story and any updates on Facebook,  just look for Amazing Tom.

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Trick or Treat?

Candy Corn, Gummy Bears, Peanut Butter Cups, Swedish Fish, Candy Bar, Bubblegum and Cotton Candy… These may sound like treats the neighborhood kids are hoping to pick up when they go trick-or-treating later this month, but they’re actually the tricks used by companies to hook our kids on nicotine. These are flavors of e-cigarette liquid available for purchase today.

With alluring flavors like those and a dramatic increase in youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising, the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among youth shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, it raises concerns. Strong regulations are needed to keep these tobacco products out of the hands of children. We’ve asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and we’re still waiting for them to act.

Meanwhile, CDC launched this week their #20Million Memorial. 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. Has smoking affected you and your family? Check out this moving online memorial, then share your story or honor loved ones lost too soon with the hashtag #20Million.  

AHA staff and volunteers across the country are preparing to fight the tobacco epidemic in upcoming state legislative sessions. They’ll ask for state funding for tobacco prevention programs and for increased tobacco taxes, a proven deterrent for youth smoking.

This Halloween, don’t let our kids continue to get tricked by the tobacco companies. Help end the tobacco epidemic for good. To amplify our message with lawmakers, ask friends and family members to join us, then watch your inbox for opportunities to act!  

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October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month

Do you know the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest?  People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.  Click here to learn more about the differences!

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Share your Story: Carl and Clint Cottrell

Carl and Clint Cottrell Terre Haute, IN

Carl was such an energetic burst of life, his final days were so heartbreaking. He still never gave up on life. The list of his heart related issues were within a 10 year period beginning with his massive heart attack…

We as a family are still devasted over his loss. That same year we began walking the Indy Heart-walk. Doing this in his memory, helped us live thru our loss and strengthen our family bond. We knew more research could maybe save more lives. Maybe others would be able to have their dads and grandpas longer. All of our children and grandchildren are involved. Clint, however, took a major part in collecting donations and setting up our family AHA webpage. He is a real go-getter with great enthusiasm and family loyalty.

Just two years after we lost Carl, right before Christmas Eve, Clint suffered a Stroke.  We would never have imagined.  We were in shock as he was life-lined to Indianapolis and we did not know if he would survive.  With great faith, strength and doctors, as we entered the New Year, Clint improved and finally survived his stroke. We were blessed.  I feel that the time we have spent gearing our direction to the AHA Heart-walk, has helped encourage further research and education about heart health.

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Heave you heard: new law requires CPR training in schools

A new law passed this year in Indiana means high schools are now required to teach CPR. 

HEA 1290 requires school corporations and accredited nonpublic schools “include in the high school health education curriculum, instruction in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED.)”

According to the American Heart Association, about 20 states now require the training for high school curriculum.  Read the story here.

 

 

 

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Share Your Story: Dan & Andrea Solero

Dan & Andrea Solero Mooresville, IN

19 years ago my dad, a physician, said my boyfriend would have a heart attack by the time he was 40.  Why would he scare me like this at 22 years old? Why would I care that was a life time away.  I’ve been married to that man for 13 years now. When he turned 40, my dad’s prediction came back to me. Would this really happen? He does have high cholesterol, but he is so active. We’re runners, we eat healthy. We’re already doing everything “right”.

Dan knew he was at risk, he even did a heart scan and met with a cardiologist when the scan showed some build up. The cardiologist ran some tests. Before we could even get the results on July 18, 2012, Dan came to me saying, "my jaw hurts will you take me to prompt med?" Tell me more about the pain I said. He snapped it just hurts, are you going to take me?  Dan is never sick and never agitated. Instantly in my head I hear my dads words and then I think oh my God, he’s having a heart attack.  Now I should have called 911, but I didn’t. We’re in between county lines and we don’t always get a quick response. I knew I could have him to the hospital, safely, in less that 15 minutes. It might take that long just to get a dispatch.  I drove him to St. Francis Mooresville.  On the way he said his back was hurting.  I said, babe, you’re having a heart attack, when did you last take an aspirin? "I am not, just drive!" he replied. (looking back I think he knew he was!) Pulling into the ER I said the words heart attack and he was instantly swarmed by a team of doctors and nurses. The monitors confirmed he was in the beginning stages of what would be a massive attack that didn’t fully hit him until he was in an ambulance to the Heart Hospital at St Francis Indianapolis.  The surgeon told me Dan had 100% blockage of his main artery and a 90% blockage of the secondary. “The Widow Maker” as it’s called.  He said I saved his life.   I saved his life. How did I come so close to being a widow at 39 years old? I called my dad hysterically thanking him for warning me so many years ago.   I can’t take all the credit. Dan knew he was at a high risk because he and nearly everyone in his family has high cholesterol.  He was on the right track, taking nearly every statin that’s been available for the last 15 years, he was doing the right things.  Everyone said, but Dan runs, he eats right, he’s young.   There isn’t a “look” you do not have to be an aging, over weight, sedentary person to have a heart attack.  We want people to know that. We want people to research their family history, to get heart scans, to have their cholesterol checked and to have their children’s checked as well.  We found out Dan has Familial Hypercholesterolemia , our son does too.  We recently celebrated his 2 year anniversary. It’s an anniversary I look forward to celebrating every year. Easily, the best and worst day of my life.  We are proud to be a part of the heart walk again this year.  Dan was one of the recipients for the Lifestyle Change award in 2013.  We are recruiting our friends and family to join our group, Jonnie’s Goodguys, which is a heart health focus running club we formed after losing a friend to an aortic dissection.  We are surrounded by people that are affected by heart issues way too young. We are trying to do our small part to give them the warning signs they need to take care of themselves!

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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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Judge upholds Indianapolis smoke-free air law

The smoke-free air law in Indianapolis was upheld in court recently.

On July 28th, a Marion County Superior Court judge upheld the smoke-free ordinance, that went into effect in 2012. It was passed by the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council. 

Click here to read the rest of the story and to see a statement from Katy Ellis Hilts, chair of Smoke Free Indy.

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