American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Share Your Story: Dr. Jim Blaine

Dr Jim Blaine Missouri

As an Emergency physician for 17 years, Dr. Jim Blaine is very aware of the devastation caused by cardiovascular disease.  As a Family Physician for the last 15 years, he acknowledges that most cardiovascular disease can be prevented.

Recently, Dr. Blaine has become a Provider Champion with the Missouri Million Hearts initiative.  The Million Hearts program seeks to coordinate and encourage ASHD prevention and Dr. Blaine is eager to be included in that effort.  By joining the Million Hearts initiative in Missouri as a physician champion, he will be an expert resource providing suggested activities and educational opportunities for the program here in Missouri.

He is currently the Medical Director for the Ozarks Technical Community College Health & Wellness Clinic in Springfield, MO.  He also chairs the Greene County Medical Society's Community Health Advisory Committee and the Missouri State Medical Association's Public Affairs Commission.

He has an extensive history supporting the American Heart Association that goes way back and includes supporting the initiatives of smoke free air in MO, Prop B tobacco tax increase campaign, AEDs in schools and AED Solutions to name a few.


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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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Share Your Story: Janell Husky

Janell Husky Missouri

I have been a registered nurse for the past 30 years. I had some familiarity with heart disease, early on, as my career began with critical care but just not in the cardiac unit. In 2003, I decided to further my career through Nursing Education. This path has allowed me to get more involved with heart patients.

I have a family history of heart disease. My older brother had a heart attack in his 30s. It was a surprise to all as he was in great shape – ate right, biked and ran. I could not believe he could have a heart attack. Fortunately, he survived and it challenged me to start thinking about risk factors that I may have. I try to eat better and exercise more often but I am still on medication for my high blood pressure.

A few years ago, I became more involved with the American Heart Association by participating in their Heart Walk. My involvement continues to grow as I became involved with the Go Red for Women movement.

In 2009, I had the opportunity to become a member of the Bi State Stroke Consortium. My passion for raising awareness about heart disease and stroke continues.

In April, 2013 I attended the You’re the Cure on the Hill in Washington, D.C.  I was part of a group that traveled to our nation’s capital to attend a Rally supporting funding for Medical Research and also to be a part of Lobby Day on the Hill. During the trip, I met great friends who were survivors or had been touched by heart disease in some way. We were able to share our passion and stories with our legislators about the importance of research and funding for prevention of heart disease and stroke.

I continue to be passionate about sharing the message about prevention and recognition of heart disease and stroke. I am thankful for all the friends I have made who work for the American Heart Association or who have been touched by heart disease and stroke. They are my heroes.



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Share Your Story: Keri Mathews

Keri Mathews Missouri

In 2011, our family had the privilege of being featured as the Kansas City Heart Walk family. During this experience, we shared our story of how heart disease has touched our lives through the generations. It was an honor to have shared our story and help further the mission of the American Heart Association.

You see, our family has truly been blessed and benefited from the many medical advancements made in cardiac care over the past 30 years. My dad has had two open heart surgeries (the first in 1985, and his second in 2008). Recently, was my 10 year anniversary celebration of my open heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect (aortic stenosis and bicuspid aortic valve disease) that both my dad and son possess. Additionally, I received a pacemaker three years ago. Unfortunately, I also suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), or stroke this past summer of 2013. Thankfully, I made a full recovery with the help of today’s medical advancements.

While my son Dakota, who is now almost 16 years old, also lives with the same congenital heart defect as my Dad and I, we know that his future is bright and he will be able to continue to live an active and full life. As a family, we continue to strive to live a heart-healthy life and count the many blessings we have been given. It is also very important to our family to do all that we can to give back and help the American Heart Association in their mission. Together, we can help raise awareness and lifesaving funds for continued research so other families and future generations can benefit, just as we did.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued support of the American Heart Association and continued funding of cardiovascular research and education.



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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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Share Your Story: Linda Dickson

Linda Dickson Missouri

As we travel down the road of life, we can choose the paths we would like to take but sometimes a path is chosen for us.  This path can look very scary at first but then you realize it has made your life even more meaningful.  The events on March 22, 2007 chose a path that I would have never chosen for myself but now 7 years later, I make it a way of life!!!
It started with a headache that just kept getting worse.  I had it through the day and I remember telling everyone I just wanted to lay down.  Luckily, I didn’t give up on my “important” meeting.  I arrived a little early so I could get my daughters who were 8 and 6 years old settled before the meeting started. I remember getting my 6 year old a piece of paper and that is it……..

I was told I passed out at the table!  Luckily, Dana, an ER nurse and Diane, also a nurse, were there at the meeting.  They noticed me and both knew I needed help!  The kids were rushed out.  Dana and Diane started CPR.  911 was called.  Dana and Diane continued CPR for about 8 to 9 minutes.   When EMS arrived, they tried to defibrillate me once and nothing happened.  They tried a second time and my heart started but I still was not breathing for myself.  It was estimated that I was without a heart beat for about 10 minutes.

 When I arrived at the ER, they worked to get me breathing again.  Once I was stabilized, I was transported to another hospital.  I was in a coma for about 24 hours and it was determined that I had myocarditis, an inflammation of your heart muscle.  It was likely caused by a virus.  My husband and family were told by the doctors that they couldn’t give them any idea of what was going to happen.  They just had to give me time. 

Once I woke up, I was having trouble with my short term memory not fun for my family.  Every time I woke up, I asked the SAME question over and over.  It was determined after much testing of my heart, that I needed an ICD, an implantable cardiac defibrillator.  Four days after my sudden cardiac arrest, I was taken to have my ICD implanted on the left side of my chest.  With this new addition to me, life was going to change a bit.  I have to watch magnets, metal detectors, and those anti-theft devices in entrances to stores, just to name a few things. 
Just five days after my sudden cardiac arrest, I was discharged from the hospital to start my new life!!!  The physical scars healed.  My heart functions came back to normal.  After 6 weeks, I could raise my left arm above my shoulder and I could finally drive again!!!  But emotionally, I was still struggling and even sometime still struggle with what happened!
I have found that my work with the American Heart Association, GO Red, and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association has made everything make more sense.  I have a new journey in life and I love it!  My family has embraced the path with me and we all find it so fulfilling!  With your support, we can change the 7% sudden cardiac arrest survival rate, and you can read about more wonderful stories like mine…..

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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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Register for a Missouri Heart Walk Near You!

We would like to invite you to participate in a 2014 Heart Walk near you!  The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country's No. 1 and No. 4 killers - heart disease and stroke. Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that's fun and rewarding for the entire family. This year, more than 1 million walkers will participate in nearly 350 events. Your participation will help us raise even more in our fight to save lives. Walk with friends, family, coworkers or strangers you'll bond with along the way.

Find the nearest Heart Walk near you in the list below and then click the REGISTER HERE link to create a Community Team, join an existing team or sign-up as an individual. 

Participating in a Heart Walk is a great way to help fund and support the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association. Plus, raising money for others can earn you prizes. See the complete listing and thanks for your support!

2014 Missouri Heart Walks

Metro St Louis Heart Walk – St. Louis, MO - Sat, May 10th starting at 7:30am - REGISTER HERE

St. Joseph Heart Walk – St. Joseph, MO - Sat, May 17th starting at 9:00am – REGISTER HERE

Kansas City Heart & Stroke Walk 5K Run – KC, MO - Sat, May 31st starting at 7:30am - REGISTER HERE

Mid-Missouri Heart Walk – Jefferson City, MO - Sat, August 23rd starting at 8:00am - REGISTER HERE

Four States Joplin Heart Walk – Joplin, MO - Sat, September 27th starting at 9:00am - REGISTER HERE

Johnson County Heart Walk – Warrensburg, MO - Sat, October 4th starting at 8:00am - REGISTER HERE

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Share Your Story: Kim Edmonds

Kim Edmonds Missouri

My story begins, 42 years ago, at birth.  From the beginning, I had been diagnosed with a heart murmur, which is not uncommon for newborns.  It wasn’t until my sports physical during my senior year in high school until it was ever brought up again.  Initially, I was misdiagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.  After additional testing, they realized I was suffering from aortic stenosis.  They informed me that I would eventually have to have heart surgery sometime within the next 20 years. 

Twenty-three years later, I underwent open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and remove a sub-aortic membrane.  I thought that would be the end of my heart journey as I believed my heart had been mended.  Unfortunately, that was far from the truth and a year later my heart would fail me again. 

On February 18, 2012, while I was hosting a Zumba fundraiser for the American Heart Association, I suffered a cardiac arrest.  I had just come off the stage and was talking to 2 of my friends.  During our conversation, I said "whoa", held out my arms & collapsed.  At first, they thought I had fainted from all the excitement of the day.   I began having seizures and they realized there was something more going on.  Once I stopped seizing they said my eyes were fixed & glassy & I had no pulse.  They started CPR immediately and called 911.  Once the ambulance arrived, the paramedics had to shock me twice before they could find a pulse. 

I spent the next 11 days in 2 different hospitals.  They decided to do surgery to give me an ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator).  I was confident that my heart had been fixed.  But on January 28, 2014 I collapsed at the YMCA after an interview for a local news show.  I awoke on the floor and initially it was thought that I had fainted.  Given my heart condition, an ambulance was called.  The EMT's took me to the ER and I found out that my ICD had fired because my heart rate was elevated to over 400 bpm.  I was kept overnight for observation before releasing me.  I am thankful every day for the research that the AHA does.  Without it, I would not be here.  

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