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E-Cigarettes in the news

Have you been reading a lot about the e-cigarette bills in the news lately?  If you need to catch up, here's a sample of what's out there:

Battle Creek Enquirer: Snyder should veto e-cigarette legislation

Detroit Free Press: Michigan bills that would ban minors from buying e-cigs cause concern

Check these out and then be sure to send a message to the Governor asking him to veto these bills.  Click here to visit our Action Alert and send your message today!   

The American Heart Association oppose these bills because they create a separate category for e-cigarettes and other vapor devices whether they contain tobacco or nicotine or not.  If these products are explicitly separated from other tobacco products and are considered a special class of products within state law, they could be exempt from current and future tobacco control laws.

We continue to support House Bill 5393, sensible legislation that would also prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but it would do so by treating them exactly like any other tobacco product.

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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 teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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One Million Milestone

Did you hear the big news?  We’ve reached an amazing milestone in our campaign to teach all students to be ‘CPR Smart’!  17 states now require CPR training as a graduation requirement, which adds up to over one million annual graduates who are prepared to save a life.  Congratulations to all of the You’re the Cure advocates and community partners who have spoken-up for training our next generation of life-savers.   

But with every advocacy celebration comes a new call to action.  33 states still need to pass legislation to make CPR a graduation requirement and you can help us get there!  Here are a couple simple things you can do right now to get the word out:

1) Watch Miss Teen International Haley Pontius share how a bad day can be turned into a day to remember when students know CPR.  And don’t forget to share this PSA on social media with the hashtag #CPRinSchools!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

2) Do you live in one of the 33 states that have not made CPR a graduation requirement yet?  Take our Be CPR Smart pledge to show your support and join the movement.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress being made in your state. 


 

 

We hope you’ll help keep the momentum going as we support many states working to pass this legislation into 2015.  Several states have already had success in securing funding for CPR training in schools, but now need to push for the legislature to pass the graduation requirement and in Illinois, the Governor recently signed legislation that requires schools to offer CPR & AED training to students. 

Bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates when given right away and with 424,000 people suffering out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, this law is critical to helping save lives.  Thank you for being part of our movement to train the next generation of life-savers!


PS- Inspired to be CPR smart too?  Take 60 seconds to learn how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR.

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Is Your School HEART Safe?

The Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Department  of Education, the Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young and the American Heart Association recently awarded 40 Michigan schools with a three-year MI HEARTSafe School designation which recognizes schools that are prepared to respond to cardiac emergencies.  In addition to receiving a designation, being a MIHEART Safe School also brings the school into compliance with a new Michigan law P.A. 12 of 2014 that requires schools (grades kindergarten to 12) to have a cardiac emergency response plan in place by July 1, 2014. 

Sudden cardiac death of the young (SCDY) occurs when a young, apparently healthy person dies suddenly from a cardiac arrest or an unknown cause.  More than 300 Michigan children and young adults between the ages of 1-39 die annually from SCDY.  The MI HEARTSafe School Award Program was created to support school communities' efforts to prevent SCDY by screening athletes for inherited sudden cardiac arrest syndromes and increasing awareness of how to recognize the signs of a sudden cardiac arrest and respond quickly.  In order for a school to receive an MI HEARTSafe designation, it must perform at least one cardiac emergency response drill per year; have a written medical emergency response plan and team; have current CPR/AED certification of at least 10 percent of staff; have accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying their location; and ensure pre-participation sports screening of all student athletes.

A complete listing of the 40 schools awarded  MIHEART Safe School designations can be found in the MDCH Press Release  To learn more about the MIHEART Safe School program visit www.migrc.org/miheartsafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(From left to right:  Kyle Guerrant, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, a representative accepting the award on behalf of Kent Vocational School, and Jim Haveman, Director, Michigan Department of Community Health).

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Share Your Story: Joel Robbins

Joel Robbins Lafayette, IN

My name is Joel Robbins and to quote the ER Doctor, I’m “one lucky dude”.  On Aug 25th, 2010, my life changed in a heart-beat….or rather, lack thereof.  As we would find out later, an unknown blood clot released from wherever it was hiding and I suddenly had a 100% blockage of the Left Anterior Descending Artery, known as the LAD.  The LAD delivers about 75% of the blood to your heart.  The result:  I had a massive heart attack.  This heart attack is known as The Widow Maker.  There’s a 5% survival rate.  Thank God…He spared my life.
 
I had felt some shortness of breath for about a month prior to having the heart attack.  On July 26th, I got an allergic reaction from some bee stings.  I was given some medication to fight the allergic reaction.  The very next day, I went to the nurses at work with very elevated blood pressure and very fast heart rate.  I was told it was the medication working and not to worry about it.  I sought help two more times, each time I was told it was the medication and not to worry.  So…I didn’t.   Over the course of the next 30 days, I had some periodic shortness of breath for a few seconds and then I was fine (or so I thought).  What we later learned was, the medication was also working on the blood clot I didn’t know I had!
 
As I came home from work on the 25th of Aug., my wife and kids were out working in the yard.  I was tired, so I lied down to rest a bit.  They called in through the window for me to help with something and I went on out.  I decided to do a few more things while out there and as I finished putting things away, I was knocked flat, face first to the ground.  I had no energy and I was extremely short of breath.  This time, however, the shortness of breath was not going away!  I remember thinking to myself, “I’m only 44, I can’t be having a heart attack.”  My wife and daughter came up to me and I said I was fine, I didn’t need to go to the doctor or hospital…it was nothing.   I finally stood up and wishfully determined I had just overheated.  So, I went inside to take a shower and cool off.
 
While in the shower, suddenly, an extreme pain in the center of my chest came upon me.  It was as if someone was pushing their heel down into the center of my chest and someone else was pulling up on my shoulders. I broke out into a cold sweat and both of my arms went numb.  I immediately knew I WAS having a heart attack now!  I got out and lied on the floor.  Everything around me was now gray, no color whatsoever.  I thought to myself, I don’t want to die here.  So, I got up off the floor and headed for the stairway.
 
It was at this point, I realized God was with me.  I was very unstable walking and the stairway was overwhelmingly steep looking.  I remember saying, please don’t let me fall.  Suddenly, the stairway appeared to be narrower and distant - as if I was lifted above it.  I truly believe it was at this point God was holding me and helping me down the stairs.  I had called out to Wendy a little earlier and she met me at the bottom.  While coming down the stairs, I noticed the Lord’s Prayer we have above the landing.  Now, the Lord’s Prayer was completely in color and in focus….while around it was still all gray.  God was telling me to PRAY!  As Wendy wrapped her arms around me and helped me to the floor, I whispered to her, arms numb, can’t breathe.  I then started gasping for every breath.  Wendy is immediately on the phone with 911 (she did a great job of staying calm – I think it helped she was in shock of what was really happening) and I can hear both of our kids crying.  I am praying for all I am worth at that point and I can safely say, that was the hardest I have ever prayed.
 
I felt some relief as I heard the sirens in the distance.  I couldn’t believe they were coming for me, but I was relieved at the same time.
 
The first responders came and then the EMTs.  The hardest part of this was looking at Isaac and Ashley as I was being wheeled out of our home, thinking this was going to be the last I saw of my family.  Fortunately, God was still there with me.  God worked through the EMT as three different times on the way to the ER, God and the EMT brought me back.  Standing over me, the EMT told me, God wasn’t done with me yet and not to leave him.  God had all the right people in all the right places for me that night.  When I got to the ER, the staff quickly started working on me.  The cardiologist had called the catheterization team in before I got to the ER, so they could be ready for me.  My senses were heightened as I could hear all of the conversations that night.  Even the one with the EMT speaking with the ER in the ambulance on the way there….saying, he needed to speak with THE cardiologist on duty as he had a 44 year-old, white male actively having a heart attack and of the three EKGs performed, none were good.  He needed everyone to be ready and we were five minutes out.  (That is really scary as you realize, it’s you they’re talking about!)  When we pulled into the ER, I was cold and my legs were now numb too.  I remember thinking, “I don’t have much time left…I’m slipping away.”  As the hustle and bustle of medical staff was everywhere within the ER room, I soon had this calmness that came over me.  The ER staff was really working on stabilizing me and trying to ease my pain, though it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt.  I cried a little, but quickly knew I needed to fight instead.  It was great to see Wendy and my parents there in the ER with me.   Soon, the staff whisked me away to the cath lab.  I had briefly passed out but immediately came to when they removed the clot and inserted a stint.  I was warm and now could feel my arms and legs again and I had no more pain.  After I looked around and realized the big bright light was just the surgical light overhead, I thanked the nurses and said I felt wonderful.  I also thanked God for the first time that night.
 
So, a few hours after this whole thing had started, I was feeling great.  I was soon lying in my ICU bed, I was thankful to see my beautiful bride and my parents again.  I was able to speak with my kids on the phone and tell them Dad was ok and I would see them tomorrow.

I have learned very much about the heart and being heart-healthy since my heart attack.  I also learned a LOT about The American Heart Association and the valuable research they do.  I am here today because of that research.  When I survived, I knew I had to help the AHA in any way that I could.

I am a very active volunteer for the AHA.  I am one of a few people picked by the AHA to be a Social Media Diplomat for the AHA.  What does this mean?  It means I monitor their Facebook and Twitter pages and respond and encourage people who post of heart issues.  I am a National Mentor for Lifestyle Change. 

I walked in my first Heart Walk just 56 days after fighting for my life (2010).  I was asked to help on the leadership team the following year (2011).  That same year, I won the Lifestyle Change Award.  The next year (2012), I was honored to be selected as the Chair of the Heart Walk.   Last year (2013), I was again on the leadership team for the Heart Walk.  This year (2014), I am thrilled to be a part of the Indianapolis Heart Walk.

I have also been featured in the Indiana Affiliate newsletter for 2014, as well as the National mailer.  I am not afraid to share my story.  It is my extreme honor and my privilege to be associated with this great organization.  As I wrote earlier, I would not be alive today if it were not for the AHA.   The valuable prior research and the prior education and training all led to saving my life that night.

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Share your Story: Sheri Lindsay

Sheri Lindsay Michigan

My life has changed dramatically in the past 24 months since I had a stroke — I am now happier and healthier than I have ever been — and I am so grateful for this chance to share my story.   I am hopeful that people who are faced with similar health challenges will find my story helpful and inspiring.

I am constantly asked about how I was able to recover from the stroke, lose 130 pounds and keep it off for the past year. I did not have surgery, hire a personal trainer or use any special gimmicks. My transformation consisted of hard work and discipline. I could not have been as successful without the support of family, friends and our community. The night I had the stroke I was happily taking care of my family, attending my sons’ football and hockey games, and making sure everyone around me was content.

The effects from the stroke were devastating to me. I did not want anyone outside the family to know because I was embarrassed that I had done this to myself. The combination of my weight, high blood pressure and diabetes were a huge risk factor — which I was aware of, but chose to ignore. The vision in my left eye was affected and my left leg went numb. My doctor told me I might not make it through the next one.

I believed that with the help of my family and faith I could make a change. I never shed a tear or looked back. I joined Trenton Athletic Club and started my slow journey back to health by sitting on a stationary bike — peddling with one foot. Eventually I was able to start taking classes. During this time I saw a nutritionist at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. I listened, learned, and to this day I follow the plan she made for me.  In order for me to make a complete recovery, I had to find the right balance of taking care of my family and finding time for me everyday. Now I even do cardio kickboxing 5 days a week at the Fighting Fit in Wyandotte.

I look forward to my next 50 years and what lies ahead. I now do motivational speaking and share my story of recovery and hope. I have become strong, empowered, and grateful. I live and love life to the fullest, and I hope I have encouraged others along the way.

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Letter to the Editor: Use Michigan's existing tobacco laws to cover e-cigarettes

"Minors should not be allowed to purchase e-cigarettes. On this point, vast majorities of legislators and the public agree. The bigger question is: How should regulation about e-cigarettes be put in place?"

This Letter to the Editor appeared in the Detroit Free Press and was submitted by Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive of the State of Michigan in the Department of Community Health.  Click here to read the rest of the article!

If you'd like to send in your own letter of support for this bill, please send an email to jason.haredr@heart.org.  And remember, you can send a message right to your lawmakers about this issue by clicking here to visit our You're the Cure website.

 

 

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Take Control of Your Health

Did you know high blood pressure has also been called the “silent killer”? That’s because its symptoms are not always obvious, making the need for regular check-ups important.  As we recognize High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, here are the facts:

• High blood pressure (aka: hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

• It’s the leading risk factor of women’s deaths in the U.S., and the second leading risk factor for death for men.

• One-third of American adults have high blood pressure. And 90 percent of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes.

• More than 40 percent of non-Hispanic black adults have high blood pressure. Not only is high blood pressure more prevalent in blacks than whites, but it also develops earlier in life.
 
• Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.

Now that you know the facts, what can you do to take control? The answer is a “lifestyle prescription” that can prevent and manage high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle includes exercise, stress management, and eating a healthy diet, especially by reducing the sodium you eat. To learn more about taking control of you blood pressure, be sure to visit our online toolkit!

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A Heartfelt Thanks

Each year, we like to pause and give thanks during National Volunteer Week (April 6th-12th) for the amazing contributions of volunteers like you.  We know you have a choice when deciding which organization to dedicate your time and talents to and we’re honored you’ve chosen to contribute to the American Heart Association’s mission.  Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to meet many You’re the Cure advocates in person to say ‘thanks’, but since getting together isn’t always possible, I wanted to share this special video highlighting the progress you’ve made possible.

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

You’ll see we are making strides to create smoke-free communities across the country, develop the next generation of life-savers trained in CPR, and ensure all students have healthy meal choices in schools.  The effort you’ve made to contact your lawmakers, share your story, and spread the word through your social networks have led to those successes and more. In fact, in just the last eight months, You’re the Cure advocates have helped contacted local, state, and federal lawmakers more than 140,000 times and it’s these messages that can lead to policy wins.

So take a moment to pat yourself on the back and enjoy a job well done!  I look forward to continuing our efforts to pursue policy changes that will help build healthier communities and healthier lives for all Americans. We couldn’t do it without you – thanks!

- Clarissa

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In case you missed it...

Earlier this month, Governor Snyder signed into law House Bill 4713.  This bill will ensure that a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan is in place in every Michigan school.  These plans are a great way to help students and staff alike make sure they are prepared and know what to do during medical emergencies. 

Thank you to all of our American Heart Association volunteers who helped advocate for this bill during the last year!  This legislation has the potential to save the lives of students or visitors to schools in the event there is a cardiac emergency situation.    

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