American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island

The American Heart Association is proud to collaborate with Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island to raise awareness of congenital heart defects.  We are truly blessed to work with this amazing group of families and little heart heroes! 

Mended Little Hearts provides hope and support to children, families, and caregivers impacted by congenital heart defects in order to extend and improve quality of life.  Here’s just a few ways that Mended Little Hearts is making tremendous impact across the Ocean State:


  • In February 2014, the American Heart Association and Mended Little Hearts families met with Governor Chafee to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and to discuss the importance of screening all Rhode Island newborns for critical congenital heart defects using a simple, non-invasive and inexpensive pulse oximetry test.

  • In June 2014, Mended Little Hearts came out in force to support the Southern New England Heart Walk along with 9 other teams focused on congenital heart disease.  Together, the groups raised more than $18,000 for pediatric cardiovascular research!

  • Also in June 2014, Mended Little Hearts submitted comments on the RI Department of Health’s proposed regulation that would add critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) to the state’s mandatory newborn screening panel.  Click here to view the comments: (Please visit the site to view this file)

  • And, Mended Little Hearts will host many social and educational events throughout the year for children with CHD and their families.

For more information on Mended Little Hearts of Rhode Island, contact or visit   



Read More

Pulse Ox Screening for Newborns: RI Department of Health Releases Proposed Regulation

Earlier this year, the American Heart Association, little heart heroes in red superhero capes, and families from Mended Little Hearts met with Governor Chafee to discuss the importance of screening all Rhode Island newborns for critical congenital heart defects using a simple, non-invasive and inexpensive pulse oximetry test.  We are excited to announce that the Department of Health recently released a draft regulation that would add critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) to the mandatory newborn screening panel in the Ocean State.

The Department of Health has been working with Rhode Island’s birthing hospitals over the past two years to implement pulse oximetry screening for CCHD.  We greatly appreciate the leadership of the Department and the many physicians, nurses and medical professionals who helped lay a strong foundation for this policy change. 

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect in the U.S. and the leading killer of infants with birth defects.  The evidence speaks for itself – wider use of pulse ox screening could help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.  

To view the American Heart Association’s comments on the proposed regulation click here: (Please visit the site to view this file)

Read More

RI Legislative Session Concludes

The 2014 Legislative Session wrapped up on June 21st.  It was an interesting few months at the State House following the mid-session transition in the House Leadership.  We found ourselves trying to hold ground on several issues while working in a very new political dynamic.  But through it all, one thing remained constant – the passion and commitment of our You’re the Cure advocates!

Following is a quick recap of some key issues:

  • Electronic Cigarette Sales to Youth Prohibited:  Advocates successfully defeated a bad e-cigarette bill that was moving through the House in the final days of the 2014 Legislative Session.  The bill was completely disingenuous – lacking the licensing provisions, enforcement, and retailer penalties needed to truly protect our children from a highly addictive new product.   The General Assembly ultimately approved the Senate version of the e-cigarette bill, which – on a positive note – restores licensing, enforcement and penalties and will truly keep these products out of the hands of kids.  However, the final bill falls short of defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products.  Doing so would have ensured that e-cigarettes would be included in all of the important public health protections that apply to tobacco products – both current law and future regulations.  In addition, the final bill does not require age verification for online or mail-order sales.  We will keep working to address these issues.

  • Stroke Registry Maintained: A bill that would have weakened the state’s stroke registry did NOT win final approval.  Advocates questioned the proposal and the impact it would have on the integrity and functionality of the registry.  The stroke registry was established in 2009 – the RI Stroke Task Force utilizes the data to identify gaps and improve care for stroke patients.

  • No CPR in Schools Funding:  We were disappointed to learn that funding for CPR in Schools was NOT included in the FY 2015 Budget.  Advocates mounted a strong campaign, but could not overcome a projected deficit and revenue needed to fund the Leadership’s top priorities – corporate and estate tax cuts.  We have spoken with our legislative champions and will plan to pursue this campaign again next year. 

Thank you for your support and advocacy throughout the session!

Read More

Lynette Lopes, Rhode Island

I was a healthy young woman preparing to marry in three weeks. I noticed I chest tightness and slowness. A concerned doctor friend advised investigation where my primary care physician did an EKG and referred me to a cardiologist, Dr. Luttmann.

On December 26, 2008, my fiancé and I visited Dr. Luttmann’s office where, after an echocardiogram, he diagnosed Viral Myocarditis, resulting in 20% cardiac output.

Living life became more difficult, I was moving slower and developed a persistent cough. I kept adjusting to my weakening body, pushing through with Dr. Luttmann’s help.

In short order I developed congestive heart failure and pulmonary embolisms. Breathing became tougher with frequent episodes of CHF. I was hospitalized at Miriam Hospital 14 times from 2009 – 2012, which became my home away from home.

On June 29, 2011 while visiting my parents I collapsed. My Mom heard me hit the floor. As she tried to call fire rescue for help, she gave what turned out to be life-saving compressions. The EMS team shocked me three times, performed CPR, then transported me to Miriam hospital where I was the second person they gave ice therapy and induced a coma for three days. Amazingly, I awoke with no brain damage after a 10 minute cardiac arrest.

I received a defibrillator and soon after Dr. Luttmann informed me that I would need a heart transplant and introduced me to Dr. DeNofrio the director of the Transplant program at Tufts Medical Center.

I was sent to Tuft’s, evaluated and added to the transplant list on April 24, 2012. I was told it would be approximately 9-18 months before I might receive a heart and that we had options to bridge me until a transplant was possible. By May my cardiac output had reached 5% and I was being sustained by 24 hour IV meds. Not long after, the meds could no longer sustain my heart and by mid-June a Heart Mate(LVAD) was implanted. Five days later while walking with the physical therapists, I suffered a massive heart attack that damaged my right heart. The prognosis was bleak, with talk of a BiVAD implantation, but I was too weak for the surgery.

Four weeks later a new heart became available. On July 18, 2012, at 3:30 AM, I emerged from surgery with a brand-new heart. As one part of my journey was ending a new part had just begun.

My recovery has been like a roller coaster ride; times when I feel great, then times when minor issues knock me on my butt for weeks. It’s an adjustment, but we all have to make those.

My spirituality has always played a major role in my life. It has been my lifeline through this illness. My faith has provided some of the best doctors, family, friends and true miracles which have been witnessed by many. My faith in the love that surrounds, has sustained me.

To everyone who played a role in my journey, I extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you. There aren’t words that can accurately express how I feel for the love, support, prayers, and care that I received from so many. My prayer would be that everyone who has to travel this journey would receive the same blessings of a godsend husband and family, church family and friends as well as the doctors, nurses and staff that took such good care of me.


Read More

Winners of Rhode Island Get Active! Poster Contest Announced

The American Heart Association is committed to helping kids and families live heart-healthy lives. As we educate and lobby lawmakers to support policies that promote healthy and active communities in Rhode Island, we wanted to take an extra step and get students involved through the 2014 Get Active! Poster Contest.

We asked students in grades K-8 to draw a poster and show us their favorite physical activity – and it’s clear from the entries we received that Rhode Island kids love to be active. We received over 1,000 entries, which made the judging extremely difficult. We definitely have tremendous talent in Rhode Island!

The following contest winners were recently recognized during an award ceremony at the State House:

In the Grades K-2 Category:

  • 1st place - Olivia Durant from Hathaway School in Portsmouth
  • 2nd place – Mychaela Brouillette from BF Norton School in Cumberland
  • 3rd place – Maciej Tabak from Melville School in Portsmouth

In the Grades 3-8 Category:

  • 1st place – Kayla Aquilante from Winsor Hill School in Johnston
  • 2nd place – Susanna Ovsepian from Stadium School in Cranston
  • 3rd place – Janyla Donahue from BF Norton in Cumberland

Special thanks to our sponsor East Commerce Solutions - and to all of the teachers and students who participated in this year’s contest!

Click the following link to view some of the amazing entries:


Read More

Rhode Island Lobby Day a Great Success!

Rhode Island advocates rocked the State House on May 7th during our annual Lobby Day!  The focus of the day was our CPR in Schools Funding campaign.  The American Heart Association is asking the General Assembly to include funding in the FY 2015 budget to purchase new CPR manikins for all high schools in our state.  The small amount of money that we are requesting could go a long way toward helping schools implement the new CPR training requirement that was signed into law last year.  Advocates met with 36 senators and representatives during Lobby Day to garner support for this important issue.

Special thanks to our Lobby Day team: Dr. Steven Fera, Dr. Brian Silver, Tracey Kennedy, John Potvin EMT-C, Miriam Plitt, Laurie Stephenson, Lisa Deck, Kathy Harrington, Shandra Printer, Annmarie Hanson, Carolyn Belisle, Kristin Fraser, Paula Allin, Victoria Smith, Michelle Karn, Sara McMullen, Korrie Chapman and Allyssa Feit.

The CPR in Schools Law requires all high school students to receive hands-on CPR training and an overview of automated external defibrillator (AED) use prior to graduation as part of the health education curriculum.  While there are many ways this can be accomplished, providing purpose-built CPR manikins will help ensure quality training for students in our state.   

Right now, approximately 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest do not survive – most die because they do not receive bystander CPR.  The death rate is staggering and tragic.  We are going to change that in Rhode Island by creating a generation of lifesavers and heroes.  CPR is one of life’s critical lessons – together we can make sure our students are as prepared as possible to save a life.  


Read More

Rhode Island Advocate Testifies on Funding for CPR in Schools

Rhode Island advocate and Board member John Potvin, EMT-C, recently testified before the House Finance Committee in support of House Bill 7414, by Representative Eileen Naughton, which would appropriate $75,000 to the Department of Health in FY 2015 to purchase new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) manikins for high schools in our state.  This modest amount of funding could go a long way toward helping schools implement the 2013 CPR in Schools Law.

The 2013 CPR in Schools Law requires all high school students to receive hands-on CPR training and an overview of automated external defibrillator (AED) use prior to graduation as part of the health education curriculum.  This lifesaving measure was championed by the American Heart Association in partnership with State Senator James E. Doyle, II (D-District 8-Pawtucket) and State Representative Joseph M. McNamara (D-District 19-Cranston, Warwick).  While there are many ways this new requirement can be accomplished, providing purpose-built CPR manikins will help ensure quality training for all students.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen any place, and at any time.  CPR is the lifesaving solution, doubling or even tripling survival rates.  If bystanders do not perform CPR, most victims die.  Sadly, the demand for CPR is high, but the supply of people with basic CPR skills is low and inconsistent.

With the help of the General Assembly, we will create a generation of lifesavers and heroes in Rhode Island!

Click the following link to view our CPR in Schools Funding fact sheet.  Please share this document with your senator and representative!

(Please visit the site to view this file)


Read More

Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Cigarette Tax Increase

Rhode Island lawmakers recently considered testimony on whether or not to raise Rhode Island’s cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack and dedicate a portion of the new revenue to tobacco prevention and cessation services in our state (which have been slashed dramatically in recent years and remain terribly underfunded).  The American Heart Association testified in favor of this important proposal, along with partner organizations the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Lung Association and dozens of local community groups from the Tobacco Free Rhode Island coalition.     

We need to make a lot of grassroots noise over the coming weeks to let all members of the General Assembly know that we want a higher tobacco tax to help save lives by preventing youth smoking and helping current smokers quit.  Add your voice to the chorus of support - click the following link to contact your representative and the House Leadership today: 

This proposal is a win-win-win for the people of Rhode Island: 

  • Win #1: According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a $1.00 cigarette tax increase will motivate 3,300 Rhode Islanders to quit smoking for good and will stop 2,300 kids from ever becoming addicted to cigarettes.
  • Win #2: A $1.00 increase will generate an estimated $17 million in new revenue for the state of Rhode Island.
  • Win #3: New revenues will be directed to public health – with a portion going toward tobacco prevention and cessation services for Rhode Islanders.  

Read More

Kathleen Harrington, Rhode Island

In the spring of 2004, our son Neil was a centerfielder for the Assumption College Greyhounds. During an away game he experienced shortness of breath and dizziness after running the bases. This continued to the point where he could no longer play and begrudgingly Neil alerted the coach, who in turn asked a team trainer to check on him. The diagnosis at the time was Neil had suffered a panic attack.

That evening while riding on the bus back to school Neil telephoned me to tell me about the incident. Being Neil’s mom I did not believe that he had suffered a panic attack; his demeanor and overall personality were not consistent with this diagnosis. I immediately called a friend who is a paramedic and described what had happened. He told me to go get Neil and take him for a follow-up with a physician, stating this could be cardiac-related.

The following day Neil and I were at his pediatrician’s office for an exam. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis of a panic attack, and told us he was cleared to play baseball. However, the words of my friend impelled me to request cardiac testing. Due to my insistence the doctor agreed, but unfortunately was unsure where to send us, as Neil was too old to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist. I looked in the phone book, found a local cardiology office, and called to see what was required to get Neil an appointment. I was told he would need an EKG before they would see him. I then called RIH and was directed to bring him in; they would perform the test, and send the results to the cardiology office I had contacted. By the following week we received the news that Neil’s EKG was not normal, he was not to play baseball, and that further testing was needed. After months of tests Neil received the diagnosis of ARVD/C (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy). That summer Neil underwent surgery for the implantation of an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator), was placed on heart medication, and said goodbye to competitive sports.

After the shock and sadness of Neil’s diagnosis began to fade I felt determined to find a way to take this negative event and turn it into something positive. I got involved with the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Taskforce at the RI DOH, the HeartSafe Community Program, and became a CPR instructor. I subsequently went back to school to earn a degree in Health Services Administration and recently became an advocate for the American Heart Association. If my son, a seemingly healthy college athlete could have a potentially life threatening progressive heart disease that had gone undiagnosed throughout his childhood, then I knew there had to be others who could benefit from my sharing his story, as well as my willingness to educate others about CPR, the use of an AED, and heart health.

Neil recently earned his MBA, and is enjoying a career in supply chain management. He makes the most of everyday, knowing that although heart disease has impacted his life, he is one of the lucky ones who survived a cardiac event. Needless to say, our family is grateful to still have Neil with us.

Read More

RI Lobby Day May 7th - Register Today!

Please mark your calendar for May 7th and plan to join fellow You’re the Cure advocates at the State House for the American Heart Association’s Rhode Island Lobby Day. 

Click this link to register today:

Rhode Island Lobby Day
May 7, 2014
State House – Providence, RI
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m

Lobby Day presents an excellent opportunity to meet with your representative and senator to promote the AHA’s lifesaving policy priorities.  This year we will focus on two important issues:

1) Securing state funding to help implement the 2013 CPR in Schools law that requires all high school students to receive hands-on CPR training and an overview of automated external defibrillator (AED) use prior to graduation as part of the health education curriculum, and

2) Prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to youth and ensuring that e-cigarette vendors are licensed by the state and strong enforcement measures are in place.

Please use your voice and help us make a difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders! 

Register today at:

Training will be provided prior to the event.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at (401) 330-1708 or

We hope to see you at the State House!

Photo: RI Lobby Day 2013

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse