American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Over a dozen Oahu stroke survivors and their caregivers participated in the inaugural American Heart Association Saving Strokes event held at the Ko Olina Golf Club on Oct. 21. The event was funded through a generous grant from the H.T. Hayashi Foundation.

AHA You’re The Cure advocate Chris McLachlin, himself a stroke survivor, worked with the AHA’s staff to help organize the event. Below are a few words from him on the event:

The AHA staff approached me about helping to organize the event because of my background as both a stroke survivor, and my connections to golf since my son Parker plays on the professional tour. Parker’s first coach is Greg Nichols, the general manager and director of golf at Ko Olina Golf Club. I know that Greg is service- and community-minded, so it was easy for me to call him and ask his club to host the event.
Greg’s staff was tremendous in accommodating both survivors with limited disability, as well as those with more severe disability. They were great at teaching basic skills in putting, chipping and driving the ball. The stroke survivors who I spoke with after the event expressed great satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment in doing something that they didn’t before think that they could do. You could see their self-confidence grow, as well as the collegiality formed between them, the pros, and their caregivers. It was an exciting event and I’m looking forward to helping organize another one here in Hawaii.

Thank you Chris for everything you do for the AHA. Without volunteers like you we couldn't do what we do.

My name is Kristin Salvi and I am the newest member of the Government Relations team in New York! I look forward to the opportunity to champion our policy goals related to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.  Coming from doing advocacy work for the New York State Nurses Association, and most recently working for the state of New York, my background includes advocating for public health issues such as the CPR in Schools law, sugary sweetened beverage (SSB) tax bills, childhood obesity prevention programs, and many other important campaigns. I am excited to join with all of you here at the American Heart Association because I value the great work the organization has achieved on tobacco control, the healthy food and active living initiatives, access to care, and many other important public health topics.


As a new staff member of the American Heart Association, I've been learning about our platform, "Life is Why." (To learn more, click here.)  Being a relatively new mom of almost three year old twins, they are my 'why.' I want my kids to grow up in a world where receiving quality physical education in schools in the norm, healthy food is accessible to all regardless of where you live,  everyone has access to quality health care regardless of income, and everyone can live and breathe in a smoke-free environment. Although I may be aiming high, my reason for being so passionate on these issues is to make the world a better place for them. I look forward to working with all of you on all of the good stuff we are planning to do in the future!

Patty Lang is a two time stroke survivor and a passionate You're the Cure advocate. She is also very involved in the Go Red for Women movement as a survivor ambassador as well as volunteering at numerous Heart Walks. She was recognized for her efforts when she was awarded the American Heart Association Garden State Go Red for Women Woman of Distinction award in 2014.

Recently, Patty was involved in an effort to secure proclamations to commemorate World Stroke Day on October 29. Patty was successful in obtaining a resolution from the New Jersey Legislature and proclamation from both the Mayor of Monroe Township and Governor Chris Christie recognizing October 29, 2015 as World Stroke Day.

Patty’s passion and dedication to helping raising awareness around heart disease and stroke is inspiring others to make changes and live healthier. Thank you Patty!

Guest Blogger: Sandra Miller Roberson, You're the Cure advocate

Diagnosed and medicated at the age of 30, I did not understand the seriousness of controlling my high blood pressure. I had always heard it was the "silent killer" but really did not believe that pertained to me. After training with a personal trainer and settling in with a healthy diet, I decided a few months later that I no longer needed high blood pressure medicine and stopped refilling my prescription.

Not taking my blood pressure medicine was one of – ok, THE worst decision of my life. Not only did my life change dramatically at age 37, but my careless and selfish decision impacted so many others.

It was a beautiful fall day in 2009 and I was feeling great as I worked out with my trainer. All of the sudden, I was on the gym floor with a massive, exploding headache. My attempts to just go home and rest were thwarted by my friends at the gym, and I found myself in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. My last memory for several weeks was of calling my mom and telling her I was sorry, and that I loved her.

Ruptured brain aneurysm - a hemorrhagic stroke - is what I heard whispered in the ambulance that day.  What? I didn't even know what that was, much less how it happened to me at age 37. However, after weeks in the ICU and more than a full year of recovery, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about how and why this happened to me. 

Many people have aneurysms, which are balloon-like bulges or weaknesses in the vessels of the brain.  Over time, high blood pressure will put extra pressure on those vessels, eventually pushing blood into the aneurysm until the pocket grows and finally bursts. 

That's what happened to me, but unlike so many others, I made it to the hospital, and great doctors and nurses saved my life. Odds for a full recovery from a hemorrhagic stroke are extremely low, and while I beat the odds, my recovery would take time and patience. For weeks, I slept 16 hours a day napping, and even months later, would find myself needing multiple naps to make it through the day. While I was back at work eight weeks or so after the event, I was tired and overwhelmed all the time. I fought against the idea that I - always happy and easy-going - was now suffering from depression, which my doctor warned me would occur. I was medicated for depression for more than a year.

Today, I lead a normal and healthy life, and have returned to working out without restrictions. But with every headache I have, I am reminded that high blood pressure is a "silent killer" and I was one of the lucky ones. Now, unlike before, I take my blood pressure medicine, and will for the rest of my life.

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