American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
WELCOME! PLEASE LOGIN OR SIGN UP

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
SIGN UP

Advocates Like You View All

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the American Heart Association.  We are constantly amazed by our volunteers' commitment to advocate for healthier lives and to help save lives through policy change.  We are pleased to spotlight Silvia Gutierrez-Raghunath as this month's volunteer extraordinaire. Her passion and enthusiasm shine bright! Read below to learn more about Silvia and her why: 

Name: Silvia Gutierrez-Raghunath

Occupation: Researcher II/Promotora de Salud

How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association?

8 years

Why do you advocate to build healthier lives and communities, free of heart disease and stroke?

Because I have a child and he is my motivation, and I want to see my grandchild living free of heart disease and stroke. Because my mother died of heart disease and my father had 4 heart attacks, because I care about my community.

What are your passions and your interests in life?

I'm passionate about making a difference and helping others. I lost my father and my mother and ever since then, I have spent time volunteering to educate others (family and community) about how we can prevent heart disease. I also love getting to know patients and survivors on a personal level. I put my heart, mind and soul into even in my smallest acts. This is my real passion!

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off?

I love spending quality time with my 9 year-old-son Diego and my husband Ramesh

After 35 years of smoking, bouts with bronchitis and increasing prices, Cindy Peterman decided it was time to quit and she credits the recent price increase for tobacco products in Nevada with helping her.

 

“Last year on July 4th weekend when I went to buy cigarettes I realized with the increase I can’t do this anymore; I have rent to pay. I am so grateful for the increase. It led to me quitting for good,” said Cindy.

In addition to the tax increase, Cindy’s can-do attitude and positive outlook on life made it easier for her to quit. Prior to moving to Las Vegas to be near her son and grandkids, she owned both a restaurant and home in Texas. When the recent recession hit, Cindy lost the restaurant and then her home.

 

“After going through all that change, I thought I can make another change in my life,” she said. 

Upon deciding to quit, Cindy visited her doctor and received the patch (covered by Medicaid). While the patch has four cycles, Cindy only used it for the first cycle.

 

“I have not smoked or used the patch since,” she said.

 

Her son is overjoyed that she quit and she notes how important it is to be a good example for her grandkids. In her job at checkout at Walgreens, Cindy has discovered many of her customers are quitting since the tobacco tax increase. She shares her story to encourage them and now they have formed a small support group. Cindy also hopes by sharing her story with the AHA/ASA, she can inspire even more people to quit.

 

Most of all, Cindy is enjoying her new smoke-free life.

 

“At age 65, I enjoy having the time to start my life over,” she said.

 

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing this wonderful example of how smart, strong public health policy can positively affect the lives of individuals and communities. Keep up the good fight, Cindy!

Katie Towle knows there are two things that can help a child when they are born with a heart defect – a life-saving test that can help detect it, and the support of other families with children who also have heart defects.

Katie helped promote the need for mandatory pulse oximetry testing for newborns at our legislative reception this winter. She’s a big advocate because her son Jack did NOT receive this test when he was born.

Katie said then, “Had this simple, painless test been done upon birth, we may have been able to have his repair surgery months earlier and avoided so many hospital stays with over 30 nights cumulatively away from our older child, our home and our jobs. Due to the delay in his surgery, Jack’s growth was significantly delayed and his physical development fell drastically behind the national standards.”

Katie will be promoting that pulse oximetry be the standard screening adopted when the Vermont Health Department undertakes a rulemaking to require congenital heart defect screening this year.

She also just formed a cardiac kids’ support group of parents and kids with congenital heart defects. We all had a great time attending the Lake Monsters game together this summer! If you have a child with a congenital heart defect, let me know. We’d love to connect you with this wonderful group and we would also love your help in requiring this test for newborns in Vermont. My email is tina.zuk@heart.org.