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It's Back to School Time in PA: Time to Learn...CPR!

Great news! As part of our CPR in schools effort, we’ve reached a milestone: with 17 states now training high school students in CPR, more than one million students will graduate every year knowing this lifesaving skill. Let's make Pennsylvania number 18!

Hands-only CPR training takes 30 minutes or less--less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. And teaching students CPR could save thousands of lives by filling our community with lifesavers—those trained to give sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive.

Send your message today in support of training our students in CPR--and let's graduate a new generation of lifesavers!

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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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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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We Did It! Passionate PA Advocates Help Newborn Pulse Ox Bill Cross the Finish Line

In Pennsylvania, an April "Pulse Ox" Advocacy Day, with dozens of advocates in attendance, proved successful in getting HB 1420, which had been passed by House many months earlier, moving in the Senate. And, when the bill passed the Senate but got caught up in an unrelated political battle in the House just before the Legislature was to recess for the summer, Government Relations Director, Jennifer Ebersole, reached out to advocates on a Saturday afternoon. These outstanding You're the Cure volunteers made certain legislators heard their voices throughout the remainder of the weekend, getting the bill on the agenda by Monday morning and through its final step in the House by Monday evening.

As Jen puts it, "I can say with extreme certainty that the reason this happened was because of the overwhelming outpouring of phone calls that House Leadership received." We can’t thank our PA advocates enough for their perseverance in ensuring all babies born in the Commonwealth will now receive pulse oximetry screening to help detect congenital heart defects.

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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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2014 CHD & Pulse Oximetry Screening Awareness Day

CHD & Pulse Oximetry Screening Awareness Day took place at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on Monday, April 28.  More than 40 American Heart Association volunteers came to the capitol for a day filled with legislative training, a press conference on the importance of pulse oximetry screening for newborns, and visits with their Senate members.  We were honored to have five children with congenital heart defects in attendance.  Each child took some time to write/draw messages to legislators about the importance of saving small hearts. (group photo taken by Bryan Shattuck)

Advocates asked for support of House Bill 1420, a bill that would ensure that all newborns are screened for congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry.  Pulse oximetry is a simple, low-cost, non-invasive screening test that can be performed in as little as 45 seconds. 

Volunteers came back from their legislative meetings energized by the process and the opportunity to make a difference by telling their personal stories.  Our efforts did pay off!  The Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee will be voting on House Bill 1420 on Wednesday, May 7th.  This is a major hurdle to clear and we thank all of our advocates that have been speaking out on this issue.  As the bill continue to move forward, we will keep everyone updated on its progress.

 

 

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