American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Why Everyone Should Know CPR!

I know most of you have a very keen awareness about the need for CPR training - why else would you be reading the American Heart Association's You're the Cure blog?  I recently had an experience that really crystallized how important it is that we're all educated in this lifesaving skill.  Last week, a colleague of ours who shares office space with the AHA here in Manhattan had a health scare.  She sat down at her desk and almost immediately, her world went topsy-turvy.  She became extremely dizzy, felt flushed, and had some back pain.  Her office mates, ran over to where the AHA staff sit and asked if anyone knew CPR.  I can't tell you grateful I was that I've been trained!  I headed over and kept her company while we waited for EMS to arrive.  Thank goodness she remained conscious the entire time; it gave us plenty of time to chat about our goal to improve CPR awareness in the city. 

In this case, we were able to clearly track the timeline for EMS to arrive since she had looked at her computer's clock right before feeling sick.  Her colleagues called 9-1-1 at 4:20pm.  Guess what time EMS arrived to her side?  4:37pm.  God forbid we had been dealing with a more serious emergency, like a cardiac arrest!  For every minute that passes, your chance of surviving decreases by 10%.  After just 10 minutes, if CPR isn't administered, you're in serious trouble! 

The 9-1-1 dispatcher was told it was a possible heart-related situation which would put her in a Level 1 incident (most urgent).  EMS would rush to the scene.  However, our office is in midtown.  Traffic is always a nightmare around here, but it gets especially bad around rush hour.  And as we always like to remind's one thing to get to the curb in a short amount of time; it's another concern to get up to the 18th floor of our building with all the necessary equipment.  This is why everyone - kids, adults, emergency personnel and every bystander on the street - should be trained in CPR.  If someone suffered a cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?  Would someone nearby know what to do if you were a victim?

I'm happy to report that our colleague is back in the office and doing well.  She's gone through some tests but is still waiting for a diagnosis.  I spoke with her today and she's keeping tabs on her blood pressure (which was extremely high during her incident.)  I am grateful that she agreed to let me tell her story to all of you.  I hope it inspires you to take action on our alerts in the "Action Center" so we can make sure we train all NY students in CPR before they graduate from high school!

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You're the Cure Success!

Have you ever wondered if all these letters you send to our elected officials make a difference? Well it has in New York City! While the new Council session is just getting ramped up, the American Heart Association has been meeting with targeted members of Council over these past several weeks. One meeting in particular revealed just how impactful our You're the Cure outreach can be. As we discussed our 2014 Policy Agenda for the city, the council staffer jumped ahead and asked about CPR in Schools. Before we could outline how effective student CPR training can be and how we expect this curriculum requirement to save lives - the aide informed us that they're already drafting legislation for us. We'll keep you posted about the next steps - and we're keeping our fingers crossed for more AHA priorities to be introduced soon!

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In Memory of Louis

Last week, Karen Acompora wrote to many of you about her son Louis, a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Please read Karen’s note about Louis and join her in calling for Governor Cuomo to take a stand to support CPR in Schools…

Today marks 14 years since my son, Louis, played in his first high school lacrosse game. After blocking what appeared to be a routine shot with his chest, Louis collapsed on the field. The coaches and trainers rushed out and began CPR. Paramedics arrived almost 15 minutes after Louis’ collapse. They attempted defibrillation but were too late. Louis went into sudden cardiac arrest and passed away. He was 14 years old.

Sudden cardiac arrest can be scary – it can happen to anyone, at any time. That’s why we worked hard to pass Louis’ Law so that all schools in the state are equipped with AEDs. And 79 lives have been saved. But now it’s time to do more. CPR is the lifesaving solution. We need more people to learn this simple skill.

Here in New York, there is a bill that calls for students to learn CPR and AED instruction. And while 13 other states have adopted CPR in Schools laws, the bill has lingered in Albany. And Governor Cuomo hasn’t taken a position.

I’m urging Governor Cuomo to publicly support the adoption of CPR in Schools. Will you join me?

Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. It’s time for New York State to have more lifesavers in the community...Please join me to tell Governor Cuomo: It’s time for New York to be CPR smart.

Save a Life. Learn CPR.



Since this was printed, Louis’ Law has saved another life. We can do even more. Please join Karen and call for Governor Cuomo to support CPR in Schools.

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You helped Protect Heart Health Funds

Earlier this year, we told you about efforts to consolidate many state programs, including those which protect heart disease and stroke. And while consolidation sounds nice, it means the public wouldn't have a good sense of how state funds are being spent on important health programs. Thanks to your help, the final state budget rejects attempts to consolidate and maintains funding for:

• The Tobacco Control Program

• Obesity and Diabetes Prevention funds

• The Healthy Heart Program

• The Childhood Obesity Prevention Program

• The Cardiac Services program

• Emergency Medical Services

And we know funding is critical: Heart disease and stroke are the number one and four killers of New Yorkers. However, we are making progress and with your help can continue to make New York a healthier state!

Thanks for all you do!

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Now it's time for Governor Cuomo to support CPR

Too many lives have been lost from sudden cardiac arrest...isn't it time for Governor Cuomo to stand in support of CPR in Schools? Click the link to send a letter to Governor Cuomo - It's that easy.   The letter is already drafted for you - but feel free to personalize it!

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A Young Hero: Molly Budzinski

Molly Budzinski recently received the Heroine of the Heart Award from Senator Mark Grisanti, sponsor of the CPR in Schools bill.  Molly received this prestigious award at Buffalo Go Red for Women Luncheon for her work to promote lifesaving CPR. Her tireless efforts led to the implementation of bystander CPR training for her entire high school…nearly 1,700 of her Orchard Park High School classmates are now prepared to save a life in a cardiac emergency!  Way to go Molly!

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An Update from Albany

CPR trainings: AHA recently held a second CPR training day at the state Capitol where lawmakers, staff and visitors could receive free hands-only CPR training.  Did you know Idaho recently became the 13th state to pass CPR in Schools legislation?  Don’t all students in New York deserve the same?  Send a message to lawmakers today to let them know it is time to make CPR in Schools a reality in NYS:

Brianna’s Law passes NYS Assembly:  Legislation to ensure all police officers are certified in CPR every two years passed the NYS Assembly.   American Heart Association volunteers participated in a press conference with the bill sponsors to urge passage of the bill.

Budget: Budget negotiations are in full swing.  Volunteers from the AHA will be headed to Albany to tell lawmakers to make obesity prevention and tobacco control a top priority!   Here’s the next step: Both houses will introduce their one house proposals and then meet for public conference committees.  The state budget is due April 1.

Stroke: In addition, AHA promoted stroke awareness at the Capitol by distributing materials to increase awareness of the warning signs and risk factors for stroke. The materials were available to the public and lawmakers.

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Is your school 'excellent' when it comes to wellness?

Is the elementary school in your neighborhood amazing? Do the kids get all of the necessary physical activity? How about school meals? Are they healthy, nutritious and downright delicious? If you think your elementary school is a rock star, help us recognize their efforts! It's not easy to do right by our kids' health, but we know there are many schools in all five boroughs that are doing great work. Please make sure they apply for the city's Excellence in School Wellness Awards. The deadline to apply is April 11, 2014 but the application takes a little bit of time (it's easy, just needs a bit of attention.) Schools can apply by following this link:

And more information is available here:

Looking forward to seeing your school on the list of honorees!

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Join us in Albany... Speak Up for Heart Health!

Join the American Heart Association in Albany as we advocate for programs to improve heart health!

On March 12th, advocates from across the state will be headed to Albany with a message for lawmakers: Heart Health Matter - Make obesity prevention and tobacco control a priority...Want to join us? Register here: NYS Lobby Day: You’re invited to join us to tell state lawmakers "Heart Health must be a priority".

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