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Meet AHA volunteer, Angie Chafos!
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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

In 2010, I survived a heart attack. My left anterior descending artery was 100 percent block. When I experienced a very sharp pain from the front of my chest to my back, I realized this was critical, took two aspirin and rushed to the hospital. Time is muscle.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Awareness and education about heart disease is valuable. Everyone should be knowledgeable about heart disease because more people die from heart disease than any other disease. Recognizing symptoms, screening to manage heart related numbers, eating better and exercising are essential elements to living a heart healthy lifestyle for optimum health and living LIFE! I have been a AHA Neighborhood Volunteer for many years to get the word out about research and heart health information.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Before my heart attack, I had never been on an exercise program. Through cardiac rehabilitation therapy, I learned how to use the treadmill and other exercise equipment as well as learning tai chi and yoga. My best friend is my pedometer which is always on my body enforcing my goal to reach 10,000 steps. Having professionals teaching me how to exercise and encouraging me to exercise to be heart healthy was a valuable life lesson.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Walking is the easiest form of exercise and requires no special equipment except for a good pair of walking shoes. I walk for causes and fundraising events with groups of people, thereby helping others with others while getting in my 10,000 steps.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Beets have always been my favorite vegetables, and oranges my favorite fruit.

 

On May 5th, 2016 Stroke Ambassador Paula Symanski was joined by her New York Assemblymember Carrie Woerner as she rode her bicycle through the streets of Albany, NY -  arriving in front of the State Capitol to cheers of her friends and supporters!     May and June marks the height of the state legislative session and AHA is pushing for passage of legislation to improve stroke care in New York State.  More to come....

Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, an allergist, is a long time resident of the town of Glastonbury, and is currently serving his third term as the town’s state representative. He is a member of the General Assembly’s Public Health; Finance Revenue & Bonding; and Planning & Development committees.

As the only physician in the state legislature, Representative Srinivasan partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to lead the charge in order to raise the state’s tobacco purchase age to 21. Knowing that 56,000 Connecticut kids now under the age of 18 will eventually die prematurely from their own tobacco use, he introduced legislation this session (https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&which_year=2016&bill_num=290that if passed would have accomplished raising the purchase age and thus made it more difficult for minors to get tobacco products on their own.

In order to better educate the media and other legislators about raising the tobacco purchase age, Representative Srinivasan also organized a press conference at the Capitol in March (https://cthousegop.com/2016/03/76293/). The press conference was well attended by media and brought together legislators from both sides of the aisle, as well as a coalition of advocates in support. Unfortunately the legislation did not pass this year, but he will again lead the charge in January at the start of the 2017 legislative session.

In addition to being a physician and a legislator, Representative Srinivasan is at heart a family man. He has been married to his wife for 33 years, Mrs. Kala Prasad, who is a professional musician. He also has two children. His son Dr. Sashank Prasad, is on Faculty at Harvard Medical School. His daughter, Ms. Anusha Prasad Rodriguez, is a graduate of MIT and Wharton, and currently works for Citibank in NY.

Wilda Evans Indiana

Wilda Evans realized the importance of heart health as a young girl as she watched her father suffer a series of heart attacks five years apart.  “When my father was in his 70s, the doctors told him he had the body of a 50-year old. He was fit and healthy, except for his heart” Evans said.  “My mantra became: There are a lot of things that I may not be able to control regarding my health, due to genetics and the environment, but there are things I can do so that I’m not increasing my risk. Eating healthy, diet, exercise, not smoking.”

Evans began supporting the American Heart Association during the years following her father’s first heart attack and has continued to advocate for the organization over the years. She has participated in the Indianapolis Heart Walk almost since the event’s inception 25 years ago.  “My mom also had heart failure and a series of strokes, and her father died of a massive stroke the week before I was born. I’ve also had some cousins who have died too young,” she said of her family history of heart disease and stroke.

Most recently, Evans’ family dealt with a stroke two years ago. Evans’ son-in-law was brushing his teeth when he became disoriented and unable to speak. Fortunately, Evans’ daughter was in the next room and immediately recognized he was having a stroke. Within 30 minutes, he was being treated with clot-busting drugs at the hospital.

“There have been so many strides and advancements over the years, and I continue to support the AHA because of the valuable work being done. Without support, there would be less funding for research and education. The upcoming generations need to know that it’s important to keep their hearts healthy.”

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