American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Get connected! Join us on social media today!

Did you know that the American Heart Association has a great online presence on Facebook and Twitter?  You can check out all the wonderful updates, pictures, and postings by getting connected with us online.  Click below to join the page that is in your area and be sure to share and like our posts!


Facebook pages:


Southeast Michigan:

Southwestern Michigan:

West Michigan:

You're the Cure:


Statewide Twitter:

Mid-Michigan:  @AHAMidMichigan

West Michigan & Southwestern Michigan:  @AHA_WestMI_SWMI

American Heart Association Advocacy:  @AmHeartAdvocacy



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Mark Your Calendar for the EmpowerMEnt Challenge!

We’re gearing up for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and we want you to be in on all of the action!  Throughout September, we’re encouraging families across the country to take control of their healthy by participating in the EmpowerMEnt Challenge.  Each week, families and kids will pursue a different goal, including eating more fruits and veggies, limiting sugary drinks, reducing sodium intake, and increasing physical activity.  Each goal is fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family.  And by the end of the month, families will be a step ahead on the road to a heart-healthy life. 

So mark your calendar for the challenge kick-off on September 1st!  Complimentary templates and activities, broken down into the themed weeks, are now available on  In addition, you're invited to join our EmpowerMEnt Challenge Facebook group, where you can make the commitment to take the challenge and share your progress with others.  

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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 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











(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: Kristin VanSingel

Kristin VanSingel Michigan

My name is Kristin VanSingel, and I am a heart survivor.  I was born on July 23, 1982 with critical aortic stenosis.  At one day old I had my first open heart surgery (valvotomy) at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.  I was in the ICU for six weeks on a ventilator and then hospitalized on and off for the first year of my life.  I was never able to suck on a bottle because my cardiac output was insufficient.  I was fed through an NG tube until I was 18 months old and weighed 13 pounds.  During my first few years of life, I was given medicines round the clock.  At 18 months old I had my second open heart surgery.  The surgeons inserted a conduit with a pig’s valve inside.  It was then that I was able to start eating and gaining weight. 

When I was in the 6th grade, they replaced this conduit.  They removed the conduit and replaced my native aortic valve with my native pulmonary valve and then replaced the native pulmonary valve with a donor valve.  In other words, my pulmonary valve became my aortic valve and I now have a donor pulmonary valve.

Even though I did suffer anoxia at birth and the doctors thought that I might have learning difficulties, they were fortunately proven wrong.  I graduated from high school as a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan Dearborn.

To date I am doing well from a cardiac standpoint.  I see my cardiologist, Dr. MacDonald D ick, twice a year for check-ups and have been put on different types of holter monitors to keep an eye on palpitations that I have been having for the past seven years.  I see a pediatric cardiologist since my heart problem is congenital.  I can pretty much say I am one of the oldest patients in the department.

Living with a congenital heart problem has definitely made me appreciate life – knowing that when I was born they did not expect me to survive.  Technology today is so advanced and continues to advance each and every day.  I hope to be an example that parents of children who also have severe congenital heart problems can look to for hope.  I hope to be someone that young adults, especially girls, can look up to and learn to live with their heart problems.  They should be proud of their bodies and show their “zipper scars” without feeling embarrassed as if it were something that they should be ashamed of.  I also hope to be an example of living a healthy lifestyle for others with heart disease.  Everyone deserves to look and feel beautiful.  I truly feel that beauty comes from within and my scars are what make me stand out amongst others.  I have learned to live with my heart condition and carry on my life to the fullest within my restrictions.  I believe that God doesn’t give you anymore than you can handle.

Currently I have been married for over nine years to my husband, Brian, who is a full-time soldier in the Michigan Army National Guard.  We are in the process of adopting and just waiting for the baby that God has chosen for us.  I have been a volunteer with the American Heart Association for the past three years because I feel it is important to give back to an organization that has indirectly given me so much!

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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  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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