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  • Blog Post: Gail Mates

    Gail Mates, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate I spent most of my life watching heart disease strike family members. Both grandfathers died of heart attacks, my father suffered from several and even my mother had an enlarged heart and hypertension that made her susceptible. When my father had a stroke, I witnessed...
  • Blog Post: Dr.Bob Blackburn, North Carolina

    Dr. Bob Blackburn, North Carolina Dr. Blackburn started his career as a volunteer with the American Heart Association in 1973. In a nutshell, why did he get involved? He was working with students and saw the impact tobacco was taking on their lives. The tremendous need for our youth to have better...
  • Blog Post: Shobha Ghosh

    Shobha Ghosh, Virginia Watching my mother and my older sister suffer with heart disease encouraged me as a second grader to become a cardiologist. But after losing both of them in a span of just 10 days as an 11 year-old, my focus changed. I decided instead to become a biomedical researcher with the...
  • Blog Post: Kendra Meiklejohn

    Kendra Meiklejohn, Mid-Atlantic My husband and I were so excited at the ultrasound to find out the sex of our second child. We had our son with us. We were joking and talking with the tech. She suddenly grew quiet. When the doctor came in and viewed the ultrasound, he was also very quiet. It didn’t...
  • Blog Post: Paul Kearns

    Paul Kearns, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Over twenty five years ago, I was working as a boat captain on the Long Island Sound. It was a beautiful summer day around dusk when someone collapsed near me on the dock I was operating. This man was turning blue, and after being frozen with fear I did the only...
  • Blog Post: Neha Aggarwal

    Neha Aggarwal, District of Columbia One day while he was walking through the park, Neha Aggarwal’s maternal grandfather suddenly fell to the ground—he had unexpectedly suffered a stroke. Before the stroke, her grandfather had been very active mentally, physically, socially, and professionally...
  • Blog Post: Richard Benson

    Richard Benson, MD/PhD, District of Columbia “I’m looking at the man in the mirror.” When it comes to preventing heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #4 most common causes of death in the US, respectively, I think of those famous and poignant words by the late great Michael Jackson...
  • Blog Post: Joye Mullis

    Joye Mullis, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate As with all children, my son’s story began well before his birth. I had a fairly easy pregnancy, tainted by a couple of scares early on, but then all appeared well at my 20-week ultrasound. I was healthy. Baby was healthy. Life was good. At 28 weeks...
  • Blog Post: Anne Efron

    Anne Efron, Maryland Following a long day at work Anne Efron and her husband Dave were getting set to grill for dinner. After making a quick trip to the store Dave returned to find Anne unconscious and without a pulse, in full cardiac arrest. She had a history of what had been diagnosed as benign...
  • Blog Post: Colleen Dudley

    Superwoman’s real name is Colleen Dudley. Colleen is a very busy women, but she still finds a way to be active in her DC community, whether it’s at a hospital, as an AHA You’re the Cure Advocate , or as a volunteer. Colleen received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Cleveland...
  • Blog Post: Mary Kay Ballasiotes

    Mary Kay Ballasiotes, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Mary Kay Ballasiotes has been advocating for children for over 15 years. Her daughter, Michelle had a stroke before she was born and that moment changed both of their lives forever. Mary Kay’s advocacy days started in 2002 in Chicago where she founded...
  • Blog Post: Sara Beckwith

    Sara Beckwith, District of Columbia Why is advocacy work so important? To Sara Beckwith it is about passion, and because she “truly believes that we have a voice and it is imperative to use our voice to work on programs such as the Healthy Tots Act and the Workplace Wellness Act.” Sara...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: Jennifer & Joel Griffin

    Jennifer & Joel Griffin, Virginia 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...
  • Blog Post: Debra Wells

    Debra Wells, District of Columbia Don’t ever let yourself wind up like Debra Wells. Doctors confirm her heart stopped for almost 20 seconds. Today she’s alive to tell about it, and it was a rough road. Before her heart problems, Debra was a successful business woman, working as Vice...
  • Blog Post: Jodi Lemacks

    Jodi Lemacks, Virginia In June of 2003, my third child, Joshua, was born via c-section. Diagnosed with a Critical Congenital Birth Defect (CCHD) before birth, he was immediately whisked away to the hospital next door for his first of three open heart surgeries, without me even getting a glimpse of...
  • Blog Post: Juddson Rupp

    Juddson Rupp, North Carolina I didn’t remember anything from my week in the hospital, but when a friend brought in a copy of the six o’clock news from October 27, 2000 I quickly realized that either that was a slow news day or that I was one lucky miracle survivor with an important story...
  • Blog Post: Lori Valencia Greene

    Lori Valencia Greene, Maryland Lori Valencia Greene is a woman of many hats: mother, daughter, friend, student, and an advocate for change in her community. She was surprised at the young age of 47 to also find herself a stroke survivor! Lori has always had a desire to make a difference. Because...
  • Blog Post: Nancy Chapman

    Nancy Chapman, District of Columbia Nancy Chapman has seen it all. A long-time advocate and volunteer for the American Heart Association, Nancy has been a true champion for nutrition and heart health both nationally and locally. Toward the beginning of her career, Nancy was teaching nutrition classes...
  • Blog Post: Neil Dorsey

    Neil Dorsey, North Carolina Why am I an advocate? What got me started down this path? I have always felt the need to speak up about issues that impact on our lives. I once heard at a meeting that we advocate for those folks who cannot speak or do not have a voice in decisions being made about their...
  • Blog Post: Francee Levin

    Francee Levin, South Carolina The last thing I remember of my poetry residency at Colleton County Middle School was getting an elevator key. The next thing was seeing a strange ceiling, which turned out to be in an intensive care unit, over a week later. I was told I was talking to a teacher when...
  • Blog Post: Dr. Amie Hsia

    Dr. Amie Hsia, District of Columbia How do you build a passion for stroke? Dr. Amie Hsia is absolutely driven to reduce the gap in knowledge about stroke awareness. As a stroke fellow at Stanford University, Hsia was asked to work on stroke issues in the community. She was staggered by the lack of...
  • Blog Post: Sally Sheppard

    Sally Sheppard, South Carolina My Senior Project back at Ashley Hall High School was inspired by a traumatic event that happened to my friend in the summer of 2009. He almost lost his life, and was saved by CPR. The project revolved around making sure my senior class was certified in CPR before we...
  • Blog Post: Breanna Sudano

    Breanna Sudano, Maryland On September 27, 2011, two weeks before my 14 th birthday, while playing in a field hockey game for my high school, I collapsed and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Two coaches recognized that I was not breathing and without hesitation, immediately started CPR. I was also...
  • Blog Post: Yolanda Dickerson

    Yolanda Dickerson, North Carolina I am the product of my village. When I received the AHA Survivor Advocate of the Year award in DC this year, I knew it was really not about me. The award is a culmination of those who invested in me and what I’ve learned up to this point. For more than 11 years...