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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 teachinggardens@heart.org to find how you can get involved.

               

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Amy Edmunds

Amy Edmunds, South Carolina

Opening doors has been the most rewarding aspect of my volunteer experience. Since experiencing ischemic stroke in 2002, I have been an actively engaged volunteer throughout the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate.

Undoubtedly, the first door to open was my own! It has been an amazing transition to evolve from volunteer to spokesperson. But You're the Cure's comprehensive advocacy training helped hone my message and presentation to enable me to comfortably address the Rally for Medical Research last year to urge Congress to restore National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. And, it was a treat to meet with AHA's CEO Nancy Brown and NIH's Executive Director Dr. Francis Collins!

Please, join me at hour 1, minute 15 to hear my message.

(Please visit the site to view this video)

For me, You're the Cure has afforded the opportunity to champion issues related to stroke among young adults from a local to national platform. Over the years, I have not only participated in numerous local Heart Walks, HeartBalls, and Go Red For Women events but also statewide lobby initiatives, national taskforces and Lobby Days. And, yes... even to the White House as a briefing attendee.??

So, go ahead and open the door to opportunity... for yourself as well as for those you love!

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Tell Us Who You Really Are!

Tailor your experience with us! Your profile on the You’re the Cure website is vital for us to convey our policy needs. Keeping our advocates informed and up-to-date on policy issues is the best way to guarantee that our advocacy partnership stays strong and when we need to make a move, we can reach you on the issues you are interested in.

When it comes to your personal advocate profile, we want to make sure you receive the information that you prefer and feel passionately about. It’s important that we know what policies most interest you.

CLICK HERE so we can make sure that you are presented with advocacy opportunities that truly speak to you.

It takes just a few moments to update your profile and interests, and those moments go a long way in ensuring that you hear the most current news and get action opportunities on issues that strike close to your heart.

As always, we thank you and appreciate you for what you have done, what you are doing now, and what you will do as a You’re the Cure advocate in the future.

Thank you for making a difference.

 

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Jennifer & Joel Griffin

On June 8, 2012, Gwyneth Griffin, a 7th grader at A. G. Wright Middle School, collapsed in cardiac arrest.  Several critical minutes passed before her father, Joel, reached her. CPR had not been initiated. “There was no one else taking care of my daughter, so I had to,” said Joel. Gwyneth’s mother, Jennifer, stated “It was after the results of the MRI, 3 weeks later, that we decided no one should ever have to go through what we were going through. What became evident was the need for CPR training in schools."

While the couple immersed themselves in caring for Gwyneth at the hospital, friends and family were busy back home in Stafford learning CPR. Joel and Jennifer’s daughter, Gwyneth, passed away Monday, July 30, 2012, not from her cardiac arrest, but because CPR was not initiated within the first few minutes. Their home community mobilized, and the Griffins report that by the end of the summer of 2012 nearly 500 people had become certified in CPR.

Jennifer and Joel involved themselves in working with the American Heart Association and their legislators to establish legislation that would assure every student was trained in CPR before graduation.  Through their efforts and perseverance, and in honor of their daughter, Gwyneth’s Law was passed in Virginia in the 2013 General Assembly session.  The law has three components: teacher training in CPR, AED availability in schools, and CPR training as a graduation requirement.

Here’s a look at how the Griffin's determination led to success:

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Since passage of the Virginia law, the Griffins have continued to work to help other states accomplish the same goal.  They visited Maryland legislators during the 2014 General Assembly session, and were instrumental in getting a similar law passed there.  They hope their story will help inspire others to support CPR training in schools as well. 

The legacy that Gwyneth leaves behind is one that will save countless lives. Help honor her legacy. This quick video will help you become CPR smart (and might get you dancing too):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HGpp6mStfY

 

Gwyneth Griffin

 

Special thanks to You’re the Cure advocate/writer Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for help crafting this story.

 

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CPR Matters

Sometimes you just need a lifesaver. Quickly. The American Heart Association is creating a generation of lifesavers by making sure students learn CPR before they graduate from high school.  The goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in every state to help keep our communities safer.  Having a new generation of lifesavers will benefit everyone.  We have heard many stories about emergency situations where bystanders do not know what to do, but a CPR-trained person is the one to remain calm and save a person’s life.

The need is dire. Nearly 424,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4% survive, often because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR could save thousands of lives by filling our communities with those trained to give sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive. Almost 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die, most likely because they don’t get CPR treatment within the first few precious minutes.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen any place, at any time. If you suffer sudden cardiac arrest, your best chance at survival is receiving bystander CPR until EMTs arrive.  Teaching students CPR before they graduate puts thousands of qualified lifesavers on our streets every year.

In less than 30-minutes, students can learn the skills they need to help save someone’s life with CPR. With a short time investment, today’s students will become tomorrow’s lifesavers. Everyone benefits from having more lifesavers in our community.

Here in The American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, You’re the Cure advocates have helped us make great progress on this goal, by telling their legislators all students should be trained in CPR before they graduate:

DC:  We’re working on it… DC City Council is looking at establishing emergency medical response plans and training in DC schools.  AHA, through You’re the Cure, is working with the committee to include student training requirements for graduation. CPR training in DC schools would prepare roughly 3500 students annually to save a life. If you live in DC, watch your inbox for action opportunities to support this effort as it unfolds.

MD:  We did that!  Breanna’s Bill passed just this year and will soon become a reality for MD students. If you live in MD, take a moment to Thank Your Legislators for this big win.  Because of CPR training in MD schools, there will be over 58,000 new lifesavers in MD communities every year.

NC:  We did that!  We passed HB 837 in 2012 and its implementation is well under way.  Because of CPR training in NC schools, there will be close to 87,000 new lifesavers in NC communities every year.

SC:  The SC General Assembly adjourned without passing CPR in Schools, but we will introduce next year.  When we get this bill passed there will be over 39,000 new lifesavers in SC communities every year.

VA:  We did that!  Gwyneth’s Law passed just last year and is in implementation stages now. Because of CPR training in VA schools, there will be over 79,500 new lifesavers in VA communities every year.


Thanks to You’re the Cure advocate Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for developing this blog post!

 

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The Way to Help Virginia's Uninsured Get Coverage

Insured individuals are more likely to take their medication, more likely to control their blood pressure, and more likely to check their cholesterol levels.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s evaluation is  that access to health insurance is critical to the goals of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans and ensuring that as many people as possible receive high-quality, affordable medical care.

In Virginia, legislators have the opportunity to help provide insurance for up to 400,000 uninsured citizens by accepting federal dollars for this purpose. Insurance coverage would give these hard-working, low-income Virginians access to preventative screenings, treatment, and medication, which would improve their health and lower their medical costs.

Coverage would also lower costs throughout the medical system by identifying cardiovascular risks and diseases at earlier stages when they are easier to monitor and treat, as opposed to treating uninsured patients in emergency rooms, when their condition has become more serious and where it’s more expensive.

Chime in:  Please ask your legislators to help uninsured Virginians receive the coverage and care they need.

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Spend 30 minutes Learning Hands-Only CPR to Give the Gift of a Lifetime

A twelve year old girl learned CPR in school on a Friday, and only 8 days later she used that lesson to save her grandfather’s life.  A young man was shopping in a clothing store when a gentleman near him dropped to the ground.  He sprang into action using CPR skills he had learned not long before, and became a hero for a total stranger. 

These are true stories of people saving lives after learning the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR.  But everyone who experiences cardiac arrest is not so lucky.  Right now in our country, fewer than 41% of victims have a bystander respond with CPR, and fewer than 11% of people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survive. 

Be ready when your true story happens.  Hands-Only CPR is easy to learn, and can double or TRIPLE a victim’s chance of survival. 

If you live anywhere near Richmond, swing by one of these locations for a free Hands-Only CPR training.  In only 30 minutes you can learn to save a life.  No reservation is needed. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014 - Petersburg Southside Emergency Crew
                                            Central VA CPR Council Event
                                            425 Graham Rd
                                            Petersburg, VA  2380

                                            Free classes offered every half-hour from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
                                            Call 804-254-1147 if you need more information

Monday, June 2, 2014  – The Science Museum of Virginia
                                           Central VA CPR Council Event
                                           2500 West Broad Street
                                           Richmond, VA 23220

                                           Free classes offered every half-hour from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
                                           Call 804-254-1147 if you need more information

Tuesday, June 3, 2014  – Ramsey Memorial Methodist Church (Classes taught in Spanish)
                                            Central VA CPR Council Event
                                            5900 Hull St
                                            Richmond, VA 23224

                                            Free classes offered every half-hour from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
                                            Call 804-254-1147 if you need more information

Thursday, June 5, 2014  - Calhoun Community Center
                                             Central VA CPR Council Event
                                             436 Calhoun Street
                                             Richmond, VA 23231

                                              Free classes offered every half-hour from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
                                              Call 804-254-1147 if you need more information

Saturday, June 7, 2014 – West Creek Emergency Center
                                            American Heart Association/HCA Virginia Event
                                            12720 Tuckahoe Creek Court
                                            Richmond, VA 23238

                                            Free classes offered every half-hour from 10am - 2pm,
                                            along with free health screenings and giveaways
                                            Call 804-320-DOCS (3627) or visit www.hcavirginia.com for more information

Many thanks to CVCPR Council and HCA Virginia for their considerable contributions in staging these events. Note, these are not certification classes.

To find an American Heart Association CPR Certification class, or community event near you, visit www.heart.org/cpr to “Find A Course” with your Zip Code.

TAKE A MINUTE to thank VA legislators for passing Gwyneth’s Law to make CPR training in VA schools a reality for every student! 

 

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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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Can You Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.?

 

Tick-tock, tick-tock.  Every minute counts.  Every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke. Timely response saves lives and is critical to help those affected not only survive but thrive as well.

Approximately 700,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke each year, and stroke remains the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke also remains a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.  

With a possible stroke it is imperative that action is taken FAST.  If you notice Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, it’s Time to call 911, F.A.S.T.

You’re the Cure advocates have worked hard to put policies in place to help people survive a stroke, like designation of qualified hospitals as Primary Stroke Centers (PSC).

Receiving treatment at a certified PSC can save lives.  At the PSC, CT scans of the brain, EKGs, chest X-rays and lab tests should be completed and results reviewed within 45 minutes of being ordered. Time is of the essence. TPA, a drug that breaks up clots that interrupt blood flow to the brain is the first line of defense.  PSC’s are required to keep this drug on site. It can be safely administered with positive results up to 4.5 hours after someone first notices stroke symptoms.  That makes it critical to note the time of onset of symptoms, if possible.

Being proactive in regards to your health can start by taking a few minutes to call your local hospitals to see if they are on the list of PSC’s.  

You can help be the cure:  Learn about heart-health issues. Meet other like-minded advocates. Take action and be heard.  You have the power.  Spread the news with your family and friends. Utilize all your social media accounts. Network for stroke health! 

To find all this and more CLICK the PIC:

 

 

 

 

 

Blog post by You’re The Cure Advocate Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC

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A Heartfelt Thanks

Each year, we like to pause and give thanks during National Volunteer Week (April 6th-12th) for the amazing contributions of volunteers like you.  We know you have a choice when deciding which organization to dedicate your time and talents to and we’re honored you’ve chosen to contribute to the American Heart Association’s mission.  Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to meet many You’re the Cure advocates in person to say ‘thanks’, but since getting together isn’t always possible, I wanted to share this special video highlighting the progress you’ve made possible.

(Please visit the site to view this video) 

You’ll see we are making strides to create smoke-free communities across the country, develop the next generation of life-savers trained in CPR, and ensure all students have healthy meal choices in schools.  The effort you’ve made to contact your lawmakers, share your story, and spread the word through your social networks have led to those successes and more. In fact, in just the last eight months, You’re the Cure advocates have helped contacted local, state, and federal lawmakers more than 140,000 times and it’s these messages that can lead to policy wins.

So take a moment to pat yourself on the back and enjoy a job well done!  I look forward to continuing our efforts to pursue policy changes that will help build healthier communities and healthier lives for all Americans. We couldn’t do it without you – thanks!

- Clarissa

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