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Long Island Board Honors Longtime CPR/AED Champion

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Long Island Board of Directors was honored to name Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg as Advocate of the Year. 

Assembly Weisenberg, the legislative champion of the CPR in Schools bill, made it a priority to increase public awareness of the importance of bystander training in CPR and the promotion of the Chain of Survival. Thanks in tremendous part to his support and dedication, the legislation successfully passed both houses and we have taken an important step toward implementing this statewide training. 

No other member of the state legislature has done as much as Harvey Weisenberg to assist victims of sudden cardiac arrest.   Assemblyman Weisenberg was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1989 and is the author of Louis’ Law, which ensures all schools have AEDs on site.  More than 80 lives have been saved thanks to Louis’ Law, named after 14-year old sudden cardiac arrest victim Louis Acompora.

 Assemblyman Weisenberg recently announced his retirement from the NYS Assembly.  Please join us in thanking him for his actions.  His voice has saved lives!

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Greece Odyssey Academy Keeps the Beat!

Congratulations to Greece Odyssey Academy!  Recently the Rochester area school teamed up with the American Heart and Upstate NY Life Support to provide hands-only CPR training to all students in grades 6-12 and any interested staff members.   As a result, over 1000 people are now trained to be lifesavers!

It all started thanks to the work of Rebecca and Mark Knowles.  To look at their son, Cameron, you wouldn’t know the Greece Odyssey Academy eighth- grader has a heart condition. His own family was unaware until he suffered a pediatric cardiac arrest six years ago. Cameron’s life was saved by his fast-acting parents, who administered CPR until first responders arrived. Since then, Rebecca and Mark have been committed to increasing awareness and prevention of sudden cardiac arrests. 

Greece Odyssey trained all of their students in PE class – in just a matter of days.  Can you imagine how many lifesavers we could have if everyone followed their lead?

Do you know of a school district that is ready to teach CPR to their students?   To learn more about CPR in Schools and the status of the state legislation, contact

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NYC Smoking Rates Increase!

Scary but true - more New Yorkers are smoking today than they were just 4 years ago!  The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene just released data from their Community Healthy Survey that shows that smoking prevalence has increased to 16.1% in 2013 from a low of 14% in 2010.  For the first time in 7 years, New York City is home to more than 1 million smokers!  While our city has done so much to try to curb smoking, Big Tobacco is addicting more New Yorkers every day.  What is causing this increase?  We know there are three main pillars for effective tobacco control - a Smoke Free Air Law (check); a high excise tax (check - although we're no longer #1 in that category); and a well-funded tobacco control program.  Unfortunately, over the past 7 years, New York City's tobacco control program has been reduced by 36 percent.  We can do better.  We must do more to protect New Yorkers' heart-health!  Perhaps it's time that we revisit these three strongest tobacco policy interventions to see what more we can do!

Ask your Councilmember and Mayor deBlasio why we’re going in the wrong direction...Ask them to recommit to the fight to end smoking...Click on the following link:

To learn more about the new smoking rates, visit the city's website:

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New Report...Troubling for Waistlines

A new report now ranks New York with the 10th lowest adult obesity rate in the nation (The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America)…sounds great, right? Wrong! New York's adult obesity rate is 25.4 percent, up from 21.2 percent in 2004 and from 9.3 percent in 1990. Obesity is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and the new report stresses the need to reverse a dangerous trend. This trend can be changed if New York State takes a proactive stance to fight obesity. The findings are troubling and highlight public policy areas that can help families and children live healthier lives. What can New York do more to promote healthy lifestyles?  

  • Let’s ensure affordable healthy food is available in underserved areas 
  • Increase Physical Education times – we know healthy kids perform better. 
  • Eating out? We still need nutritional guidelines for our kids’ restaurant meals. 
  • Take out the trans fat – these secret fats are hiding in meals near you. 
  • Promote and fund programs to help New Yorkers eat healthy and be physically active.

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What are we feeding our kids?

NYC parents will soon gain support in the effort to feed healthy, nutritious meals to their kids once a newly introduced bill is passed.  The bill, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos and co-sponsored by Council Members Stephen Levin and Corey Johnson would require that kids’ restaurant meals that include toys as incentives meet specific nutritional standards. 

 “Parents in New York City are fighting hard for the welfare of our kids,” stated Dr. Tara Narula MD, FACC – member of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association NYC Advocacy Committee and Associate Director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Lenox Hill Hospital/North Shore LIJ.  “We fight for the best schools, the best programs, the best environment.  What we shouldn’t have to fight so hard for is healthy food in our restaurants.  As obesity remains a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, restaurants should make it easier for us, as parents, to offer healthy, nutritious meals to our children.  The healthiest option – one comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables and little unhealthy fat, sugar and salt – should always be the default option.  Unhealthy foods should be limited in their accessibility so that it’s easier for our kids to grow into heart-healthy adults.”

Send a message now to your Council Member:


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Kids with Heart...

Kids with Heart...Do you know any kids that are working to make a difference?  We do!  Meet Molly Budzinski and Joey Mendrick.

Molly just started her senior year at Orchard Park High School.  Before heading back to school, Molly traveled from Buffalo to Albany to met with Governor Cuomo's Assistant Secretary of Education to ask the Governor to sign the #CPRinSchools bill.  After learning that CPR wasn't taught in her school, Molly spoke to school officials and started a CPR training program .  And now over 1700 students have been trained! Molly is passionate about CPR because she lost her grandmother to sudden cardiac arrest.

Joey is another student with Heart!  Just 14, Joey Mendrick recently wrote to Governor Cuomo to offer to teach him Hands-Only CPR.  Joey has already trained WNBA start Tina Charles - here's hoping Gov. Cuomo is next! Joey knows the importance of CPR - he's alive because someone knew CPR.  Why teach CPR in Schools?  #Joeyiswhy

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Research & Advocacy = Results

In the last decade, U.S. hospitalization and death rates for heart disease and stroke have dropped significantly!  That means our research and your advocacy are paying off!  Let's keep it going to reach the American Heart Association’s 2020 goal — to improve the heart health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.  Learn more here:

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Kudos to Albany County!

Albany County Legislators just passed a ban on the sale of tobacco in pharmacies...Yup, many pharmacies still sell tobacco!  You wouldn't see tobacco sold at the doctor's office and you shouldn't see them when filling up your prescription.   If signed by County Executive McCoy, it will be the first law of its kind in New York!  Way to go Albany County!!

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Robbie MacCue: He may not wear a cape but he's still a hero.

Robbie MacCue knows a thing or two about saving lives.  As a paramedic, Robbie knows firsthand that CPR buys time for victims until first responders arrive at the scene. That’s why Robbie volunteers at local schools to teach students CPR.  And this past month Robbie put his skills to good use by joining the American Heart Association as we talked with Governor Cuomo’s office about the importance of CPR.  Robbie showed the Governor’s staff how simple it is to perform hands-only CPR. 

Imagine how many more lifesavers we could have if all students learned how to perform hands-only CPR prior to graduation. 

Thanks Robbie!

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