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
Make a Difference at Your Local Heart Walk

Are you planning to participate in your local Heart Walk this summer or fall? If so, and you, your family, your organization or your Heart Walk team would like to volunteer to spend a few minutes at our You're the Cure table gathering signatures in support of our efforts to ensure all high school students are trained in lifesaving CPR, let us know!

In addition to being a fun opportunity to gather with friends and loved ones to support a great cause, Heart Walks are also a great way to showcase another side of the work the American Heart Association does every day: improving heart health in our communities through public policy!

Not sure if there is a Heart Walk in your area? Contact us!

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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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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 today and raise your voice!




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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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Ella Thomas Beames

Ella Thomas Beames

My name is Ella Thomas Beames. I’m 11 years old. I live with my mom and dad and my dog, Lucky, that we adopted a year ago. He’s awesome. I’m a UofL fan and I love Jennifer Lawrence – she’s my idol.

Friday, September 2, 2011, started out like any other morning. But when I got to school everything changed. As I was walking into my classroom, I fainted. I’m told I turned blue because there was no oxygen going to my brain because my heart was beating too fast and wasn’t pumping the right amount of blood through my body with each heart beat. My principal, Deb Rivera, and my Librarian, Heidi Keairns, saved my life performing CPR on me. What I remember next was that I was sitting in a chair with oxygen and there were firemen all around me. Then my mom and dad got there. I remember everyone looking at me as they rolled the stretcher with me on it down the hallway through school. Then the ambulance took me to Kosair Children’s Hospital.

I remember my aunt and uncle came to see me in the ER and they started crying and so did I. I also got sick. I was just so scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt like a completely different person. They took me to do tests. When we were taken up to a room in the hospital, they did a brain test where they attached lots of cords to my head and they drew on me too. They used a strobe light and it made me feel kind of sick afterwards. Then the doctor came and told my mom and dad and my granny and me that I had Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. I didn’t know what it was but my mom was very upset. This is when part of the heart muscle thickens and can make pumping blood hard. It also can mean life-threatening arrhythmias – when your heart starts beating too fast and too irregularly. That’s what happened to me at school.

They told me I was going to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in my chest. I was taken to the PICU. I had the nicest nurses who washed all the gunk out of my hair from the brain test and braided it. They were awesome. Then my friend Olivia cam to visit me along with my counselor and my old principal, Mrs. French. Over the next 4 days, about 45 people came to see me. Everyone in my class made me cards and we taped them on the wall of my half of the room. The surgery for the "device" went well. I got to go home just a couple days later. I had to sleep with my arm in a sling wrapped to my chest to the pacemaker leads would heal into my heart. I didn’t like it much, it felt very tight. But I had to do that for six weeks.

I had to quit playing soccer because I need to work at my own pace. But, I started a Drama Club at my school (we’re in our second year) and I’m in the scouts and I play violin. I also love to paint, draw and be creative. I’ve had to get used to being the "girl who fainted" at my school, but now it doesn’t bother me, because I’ve gotten to be a Heart Ambassador for helping my Coach at school, also, I feel strong because I’ve had to face my fears when my defibrillator fired four different times last April. My medicines are keeping my heart steady and my doctors tell me I’m doing great! My school has been doing Jump Rope for Heart for years, but this year I really wanted to get involved but I don’t jump rope, so I decided I could help by raising lots of money! We shared my personal page on my mom’s Facebook page and through that we raised more than $1,600.00! It makes me feel good.

I would tell other kids who learn they have a heart condition to be strong – it will be ok. Be comfortable to walk around the block with your pet. Like Lila in The Golden Compass said, "master your fear". And that’s my story.

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Share Your CPR Story With Us!

Thanks to CPR training he received at school, Jeffrey Hall knew exactly what to do when he saw that his little brother wasn't breathing. Were you or someone you love saved by CPR? Or were you the one who saved a life? We want to hear from YOU!

You might be surprised to learn that, in just one class period, we can teach our students CPR. Over time, this one simple step will add tens of thousands of lifesavers to our communities--young adults who know what to do in an emergency to save a life.  YOUR story could make the difference! We want to hear from those impacted by CPR to show decision makers just how important it is to train our students in this lifesaving skill.  We hope you'll share your story with us!



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Grace Firestone

Grace Firestone Delaware

On June 4th, 2011, I spoke at my high school graduation at Tower Hill in Wilmington, Delaware. I was in peak health, with hopes of playing collegiate soccer in the fall. Two days later, I went tubing on the Brandywine with my best friend, and trained at the local YMCA in the afternoon. Around 11pm that night, I was on the floor of my home in Sudden Cardiac Arrest. I had barely reached my mom's bedroom to tell her "I don't feel so good," collapsing on her bed. She picked me up, already dead weight, and laid me on my back as instructed by 911. My brother rushed downstairs and immediately started chest compressions, later followed by rescue breaths. EMTs arrived in 3 minutes and took over CPR without delay. The technicians administered AED shocks to my chest a total of 6 times in order to get a pulse, as my heart stopped 3 times throughout the night. Because my veins were collapsing, they also drilled into my shin bone marrow to get IV fluid into my bloodstream in a procedure called intraosseous infusion.

In the ER, I was put on ice under therapeutic hypothermia to prevent organ damage. Once I stabilized and started breathing on my own, doctors moved me to the ICU, where I stayed for 10 days. When I walked- slowly- out of the hospital the following morning, I found myself fitted with an ICD in my left chest and a new appreciation for life. The summer consisted of remedial physical and cognitive rehab, such as making schedules and walking 25 minutes on the treadmill. I still struggle with short-term memory loss and complex idea retention because of swelling in my brain that resulted from lack of oxygen supply when my heart stopped. After passing a neuropsychology exam in late July, however, I decided to start college in the honors program that August. Against my doctor's recommendation, I also started playing for the university women’s club soccer team. Since then, besides being a student, I have worked in the nonprofit world. Last January, I volunteered at a Kenyan orphanage for 3 weeks and then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with a group of volunteers.

I am now an intern at the AHA doing research on congenital heart defects and working to advocate for CPR as a DE high school graduation requirement. Without my 24 y.o. brother's knowledge of CPR (which was retained from his Red Cross certification in 6th grade!), I would not be here with only a scar to show from being minutes away from death or severe injury. Doctors believe a virus attacked my heart, but that is only their best guess. There is no evidence that I have a congenital disease or other heart defect. No prevention could have targeted me. I am here because of the preparedness of my responders.

Together, we are the cure, and it is our responsibility to advocate now for change that can save lives forever.

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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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Ohio Near the Top in Tobacco Use

Each year, Ohioans lose 17,700 family members, friends, and neighbors to smoking and we spend $5.6 billion dollars on health care bills treating smoking-related diseases. Our communities and businesses in Ohio are paying a high price. But, this doesn’t have to be the case.

With your support, we can save lives and money by taking three proven steps:

  • Restoring funding to Ohio’s once award winning prevention and cessation programs, shown to prevent kids from smoking and helping adults quit;
  • Reducing tobacco use by increasing the cigarette tax, which is particularly effective among our  price-sensitive youth; and
  • Equalizing the tax on “other tobacco products” that prevents kids from turning to cheaper alternatives, like Snus and little cigars.

Check out the new ad coming soon to your community, then click here to send an electronic copy of the ad to your lawmakers encouraging them to make tobacco prevention a priority in Ohio. (Or clip the ad when you see it in print and mail it to them.)

Send your legislators a message today urging their support for proven measures that reduce the toll of tobacco in Ohio!

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Advocate Spotlight: Darion Hutchinson

Darion Hutchinson

My name is Darion Hutchinson and, at the age of 20, I am a stroke survivor. A month before the stroke, I got a migraine that never really went away. I pushed through the pain and actually played the best basketball game of my career. The following Monday I was back in school feeling a little under the weather with what I thought was the flu. Later that day I pushed through practice, even though I felt nauseous.

The next day my headache was more severe and I felt sick to my stomach. I asked my best friend and teammate, Kylee, to stay with me while I tried to rest before practice. The next thing I remember was seeing Kylee with a concerned look on her face asking me what was wrong. I wasn’t able to speak, and I tried to sit up but couldn’t even roll over. I finally pulled myself up with my left arm and then fell, almost hitting my head on the bathroom door. Kylee called 9-1-1, then my sister and my coach. As I lay on the floor I started to panic. I couldn’t speak or move the right side of my body. I didn’t know what was going on.

EMS soon rushed me to the hospital, where I stayed in the stroke ICU for five days. During the first two days I had to lay perfectly still, and by day four I was walking around. After being released from the hospital, the first thing I wanted to do is practice with my team.

I never thought I would be a stroke survivor, and especially at my age. I now realize that a stroke can happen to anyone, and we all need to know the signs and what to do.

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