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Laura Gipe and Jacob Murray

Laura Gipe and Jacob Murray

When nurse Laura Gipe trained her grandson's Boy Scout troop in lifesaving CPR, she never imagined that, at just 15-years-old, he would use that skill to save her. Watch Laura and Jacob's touching story.

Like Laura's, 88% of sudden cardiac arrests occur at home. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 7-10 percent. Thankfully, Jacob had been trained how to perform CPR until help arrived. You might be surprised to learn that we can teach ALL our high school students CPR in just one class period.

Together, we can ensure that this generation of students becomes the next generation of life savers. Visit www.becprsmart.org today and raise your voice!

 

 

 

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Survivor Story: Ryan Radermacher

Ryan Radermacher North Dakota

The rural Casselton farmer, Ryan Radermacher, was only 45 years old when he experienced a STEMI, the most deadly type of heart attack also known as a widow maker. 

Ryan’s first symptom was heavy sweating followed by not feeling well and shortness of breath, and heat exhaustion.  When his wife, Kim, saw how gray/pale Ryan looked she thought it may be his heart and knew they needed to call 9-1-1.  

Calling 9-1-1 activated a team that worked together in a coordinated effort to quickly connect Ryan with the high-level care needed to open the blocked artery in his heart.

The rapid, well-coordinated response to Ryan’s heart attack exemplifies Mission Lifeline, a collaboration of the American Heart Association to improve response to ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI).

Ryan reflects on the rapid response that saved his life. “It’s pretty amazing,” he says. “From the EKG in my driveway to the stent in the cath lab, it took just 38 minutes. Because of that, I’m here, I’m feeling great and I have no heart damage.

Ryan and Kim willingly share his story to encourage others to know the signs of a heart attack and take action by dialing 9-1-1 at the first sign.  Their hope is more lives will be saved and heart damage prevented as more heart attack patients dial 9-1-1 at the first signs. 

Ryan’s story was recently featured in the Farmer’s Forum. Public Service Announcements (PSA) were filmed at their farm for release later this summer.

Ryan and Kim support the Red River Valley Heart Ball and look forward to enjoying the evening with friends each year.  They have the date saved on their calendars for Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Holiday Inn, Fargo.  

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Advocate Spotlight - Libby Char

Libby Char, Hawaii

Despite her extremely busy work schedule as an emergency physician, as the Medical Director for EMS and several of Hawaii’s first responder agencies and the  American Heart Association Hawaii Division Board President Libby Char, M.D. still finds time to support American Heart Association policy efforts to make Hawaii healthier.

She sees the value of using policy change as a way to more quickly and efficiently change public norms that will result in improved public health.  Dr. Char has supported our efforts this year to require all newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects, requiring all high school students to receive CPR training prior to graduation, and development of policy aimed at improving Hawaii’s stroke system of care.

Just one example of the great work Char has done was earlier this year when she, along with other AHA volunteer advocates, met with the Hawaii Dept. of Education assistant superintendent of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support, Leila Hayashida, to propose changes to the high school health class curriculum that would require CPR instruction to be included. Completion of a health class is required for graduation.

AHA volunteers also worked with Hawaii Department of Health representatives to provide funding to the DOE to purchase CPR manikins and training equipment for health classes. AHA CPR trainers also taught the DOE’s health class resource teachers in how to implement simple “hands-only” CPR training, so that they can train the classroom instructors.

The AHA’s “hands-only” CPR can be taught in just one class period. Dr. Char believes that every student should receive that life-saving lesson prior to graduation. In places like Seattle where this type of policy has been mandated survival rates from cardiac arrest have risen to above 60 percent, while in Hawaii survival rates remain below the national average of approximately 30 percent. Imagine if every high school student going forward learned CPR in school how many more people in our communities could be prepared to save a life.

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Advocate Spotlight - Max Stein

Max Stein, Idaho

This month, we wanted to feature and thank our Smokefree Idaho Community Educator, Max Stein.  Max has been working tirelessly in communities across the state to educate individuals and businesses on the harms of secondhand smoke.  Because of his work, Smokefree Idaho has reached an important milestone: more than 100 organizations and businesses have now signed on as endorsers!  He has been out at community events, getting much needed postcards and petition signatures. 

We here at the American Heart Association would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Max and his many hours to Smokefree Idaho!  We couldn’t have made all the progress we have without him!  If you agree with us that everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air and would like to help us make that a reality in your community, email Adrean at adrean.cavener@heart.org.

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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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Christian's Story

Written by Aimee Lybbert, Christian's mom

When our son Christian was born he appeared perfectly healthy. He passed all the standard newborn screening with flying colors. Every medical professional assured us he was fine. But in reality our son had a broken heart.


Our first thought after learning about Christian's heart defect two weeks after his birth was, why didn't the ultrasound show us that he had major congenital heart defects? We later learned that up to 25% of major heart defects are not detected during ultrasounds. 

We also later learned that although our hospital did a pulse oximetry test just after birth, they did not do another test when Christian was 24 hours old. It was not a hospital requirement.  When we asked our local hospital why the test wasn't done we were told that the cost of false positives were too high and they didn't want to scare parents and do unnecessary testing.  Congenital heart defects are the single most common birth defect.


Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects or pulse ox testing can detect seven different critical congenital defects.  Our son Christian has three of the seven critical congenital heart defects that it can detect. 

Today Christian is 16 months old. He's had two open chest heart surgeries and he will need at least two more. He will never be completely fixed or healed but with the help of his diligent medical specialists, he is thriving despite it all.  If he had received that second pulse ox test at 24 hours Christian would not have gone into full heart failure before his heart defects were detected. He would not have had to go into his first heart surgery with a weakened heart and an overtaxed body. 

I was honored to provide written testimony to the Washington State Board of Health in support of requiring pulse oximetry testing for all newborns, so that other families don’t have to experience what we went through. We're lucky that Christian made it, but not all Washington babies are as lucky.

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Advocate Spotlight - Brittany Badicke

Brittany Badicke, Oregon

My name is Brittany Badicke, and I’m one of AHA’s Oregon Advocacy Interns. This summer, I’ll be working on our Tobacco Control efforts, with the ultimate goal of giving more Oregonians access to resources to help them quit smoking, and ensuring fewer actually start smoking. Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of disease in Oregon.

I grew up in Longview, Washington and after graduating high school became a Certified Nursing Assistant, and began pre-requisites for nursing school. Thinking acute care was my niche, and with more opportunity to work in an acute care setting in Oregon, I earned my CNA II acute care license and moved to Portland, Oregon. After years of working as a CNA, and meeting several patients that were suffering from preventable diseases, I realized that my passion is in health promotion and disease prevention, which led me to pursue a degree in health education.

Currently, I am a Health Studies student at Portland State University where I will graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education in March of 2015. After graduating, my goal is to put my undergraduate degree and passion for promoting healthy behavior to use in the field before applying to the dual MPH/MSW program at Portland State University.

In the future, I’d like to dedicate my time to promoting healthy behavior focusing on education and systematic change, which is why I am beyond thrilled to be an intern for the American Heart Association! I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to learn and practice advocacy skills while gaining hands-on experience that is impossible to learn in a classroom, as well as to meet and work with like-minded people that are actively working for healthier communities.

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Share Your Story: Kaala Berry

Kaala Berry Kansas

I am a junior at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, KS. Since 2011,  I have been actively volunteering in various American Heart Association initiatives such as  health  fairs, “Power To End Stroke” program and advocacy efforts such as Hands Only CPR, Healthy  Nutrition in Schools,  NIH funding campaigns supporting medical research and the Million Hearts initiatives, just to name a few. 

Participating in community service is near and dear to my heart.  I have family members who had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in addition to my own experience.  Recently, I have been diagnosed with a non-congenital heart murmur.  It was during a routine sports physical for basketball. I’ve had routine physicals for years, but this was the first one that detected my condition. The doctor recommended immediate follow up with my Primary Care Physician who then referred me to a Pediatric Cardiologist. 

Since then, I have been more in tune with research, funding, diagnosis, treatment and what it really means to sustain a HEALTHY HEART as a YOUTH! ! I am more motivated now than ever before to educate and advocate; not only in my community but around the world.  I strive to be a voice for those who may not recognize or understand the importance of cardiovascular health and wellness.

I am very excited to support the American Heart Association’s advocacy efforts and initiatives.  Through this work, I feel I have been given the opportunity to continue to be a “Voice”. It’s not just about me making a difference in lives; it’s about the many people who are in need of support, education, information and resources.  My advocacy efforts allow me to help educate others on prevention, access and empowerment to live a life with a “Healthy Heart”!  ADVOCACY SPEAKS!

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Share Your Story: Dezi Hamann

Dezi Hamann Iowa

Dezi exudes strength and joy.  As his mom, and as a heart mom, I owe it to him to do everything I can to help sustain the progress that was made by three pioneers with heart babies.

It was April 21, 2013 that our baby was diagnosed with a CHD and that moment feels like it was a lifetime ago.  Dezi underwent open heart surgery on November 14th, 2013 at 6.5 months old.  Up to that time, my biggest fear was handing him over to the nurse and putting my faith into his heart team and our higher power.  When that moment actually came, it was the most incredible feeling of relief as I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders.  The surgeon later told me that based on his tests, there was no medical explanation for the fact that his oxygen levels remained at 100%.  I assured him that not all things required a medical explanation.  He also stayed on his little growth curve at the 4th percentile. 

Dezi flew through recovery with flying colors.  He did suffer a few minor complications, but nothing that kept him from being discharged to home in a record 4 days.  It was 6 days after surgery that he did a photo shoot with the American Heart Association.  At 8 days post-op, he met his Heart Heroes, Fred Hoiberg and Billy Fennelly and they did some pictures together and Dezi got an autographed basketball.  I like to think of him as the lucky charm that helped the ISU basketball team do so well this season.

Since then, we've just been working on playing catch-up.  Dezi spent a lot of his first 6.5 months going easy and napping frequently.  It's normal for babies with medical issues to have developmental delays.  I expected them to be physical, but mostly it has been verbal.  He's incredibly mobile and we are just waiting for him to take his first unassisted step at any moment.  He's a wild man that loves to climb on and around anything, and chase our kitten.  He's perfected his "dribble" and can now slam dunk his basketball on his mini hoop set.  And best of all, he loved to laugh.  He isn't very vocal yet, but we're working on it, and I know the day that we miss his quiet will be here before we know it. 

One of the best parts of the last year has been to meet members of our community and share his story.  We had no idea how common CHD's were, or how limited the funding for research and development was.  As little as 50 years ago, these babies were given a death sentence with their diagnosis.  We have learned that Vivien Thomas, Helen Tossig, and Alfred Blalock (a black man with no formal education, a deaf woman, and a white man in the 50's), defied obstacles and started "fixing" these blue babies.  A woman who was raised to never let anything stop her from her life's goal decided that she wanted to do something about this ignored population, and she recruited the help of two men who listened to her pleas.  While I don't have the ability to be a Helen Tossig, I can aspire to be the type of woman she was in being the change that she wanted to see in the world around her. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our story.  Please, feel free to share his picture, share his story.  If you can, join a heart walk, donate some money, help with a fundraiser.  It's the little things that snowball and make great things happen.  Not all heart families are as lucky as we have been.  Our hero was able to be "fixed".  Maybe 50 years from now, all heart babies will have that same opportunity.

 

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My Story: Lisa Bockman

Lisa Bockman Nebraska

It was a typical Monday night for the Bockman family - they had just finished dinner and were getting ready to watch a movie together.  Suddenly, without warning, Lisa collapsed and stopped breathing.  Her son Darian, remembering that their neighbor was a nurse, went and got her and told her his mom wasn't breathing.  She immediately started CPR.  What happened next can only be described as miraculous!  Everyone should learn CPR because you never know when someone you love may need it.  (Please visit the site to view this video)

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