American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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
Francee Levin

Francee Levin, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

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 I flat-lined.   The diagnosis:  idiopathic asymptomatic sudden cardiac death. 

In fact, I died twice, but I’m still here.  Two incredible school nurses and a resource officer used CPR and an AED to somehow keep me alive.  I was air-lifted to a major medical center, where I was unconscious and on life support for over a week, given no chance for survival. I made the medical journals, because against all odds, I had a miraculous recovery.  

My heart failed and left me with a low ejection fraction.  I now have an implanted defibrillator, and I’m continuing cardiac rehabilitation.  I did not have a heart attack; in fact, my heart cath showed my arteries are perfect.  And I had no risk factors of any kind.  Without the AED and CPR, I wouldn’t be here. 

I was an American Heart Association (AHA) red dress volunteer before, and I’ve been a crusader and You’re the Cure advocate ever since.   Through AHA’s You’re the Cure, I’ve been able to serve as a survivor/spokesperson to provide testimony about the pending CPR bill that will assure every student gets trained before graduating, and had an Op-Ed I wrote ("A School Saved My Life”) published to help educate the public on the issue.  I'm in close contact with my legislators, who have been wonderful, and I've also contacted my county council, as well as the school board in Richland 2, my home district. I try to respond to all the You’re the Cure alerts and customize the legislator letters with my story. 

Colleton County (where I collapsed) School Board and County Council voted to put defibrillators in every school in the county (including some small rural schools) in my honor.

I'm on a mission now. My cardiac event happened on February 1, 2012, on AHA’s National Wear Red Day.  In 2013, my cousins had a party for me on my “heart-iversary.”  A few days later, I learned that on 2/2/13, the school principal, who’s now in another district, was having a robotics tournament on the athletic field when a woman collapsed and was revived with an AED.  

Every school should have an AED and trained people teaching CPR.  The cost is minimal, and the rewards are priceless.  It’s called LIFE.

Read More

Focus on Better Health Among Native Americans in New Key Initiative

Check out this editorial posted today in the Star Tribune. Voices for Healthy Kids is supporting the ‘gathering of some of the nation’s most respected national philanthropic organizations.'

Six months ago, Minnesota’s Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community garnered well-deserved praise when it announced a $5 million "Seeds of Native Health" initiative to tackle a daunting public health challenge: improving Native American nutrition.

With the first round of grant recipients just announced, this influential southern-metro tribal nation laudably isn’t pausing to take a rest. Instead, it’s poised to take an ambitious step to broaden the initiative’s reach. In mid-October, it will host a gathering of some of the nation’s most respected national philanthropic organizations to "specifically focus on this nutritional crisis in Indian Country,’’ said Lori Watso, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Community’s secretary/treasurer.

The goal of the gathering, believed to be the first of its kind, is not only to raise awareness but to enlist these organizations’ support to improve nutrition in Native American communities. The other philanthropies shouldn’t hesitate to join the campaign. This is an overdue public health need, one long neglected by the federal government, and a worthy use of these organizations’ resources. Continue reading here

Photo: David Joles, Start Tribune

Read More

Save a Life? Our Students Could...

Saving someone’s life…how would that impact you? Are you capable of becoming a lifesaver? The answer could be as simple as learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Although the scientific term may sound intimidating, it is a simple life-saving measure that can be learned in less than 30 minutes.  If our students are taught CPR in school they could become the next generation of lifesavers.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen at any time, and in any place. Over 326,000 people in the US suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year, including 550 in Washington, DC alone.  Less than 10% survive, often because they don’t receive timely CPR from a bystander. For every minute that someone is down from cardiac arrest, their chance for survival drops 10%.

We can change this!  To improve cardiac arrest survival in the District, legislation has been introduced in DC Council that would place at least 1 AED in all schools. Although AED’s are a vital asset in case of an emergency, they are not enough by themselves.

Receiving CPR from a bystander can triple someone’s rate of survival. Sadly less than 30% of victims receive CPR from a bystander.  Training all our residents, especially high school students is essential to improving the chain of survival.

Many might think that learning a lifesaving skill like CPR requires a lot of time. However, hands-only CPR training can be taught in under 30 minutes - less than the time it takes to watch a sitcom on TV!

Ensuring that all students are CPR-trained would result in thousands of potential lifesavers in the District each year – ready and able to perform CPR at school, at home, and in the community. 24 states have laws ensuring that all students receive hands-only CPR training prior to graduation. It’s time for Washington, DC to join Maryland, Virginia, and nearly half the country in creating a culture of health and ensuring that every student can be a lifesaver.

We must spread the message NOW – the bill is about to be heard by DC Council

Tell your Councilmembers that you support training all District students in CPR before they graduate!


<Thanks to AHA You’re the Cure intern Lauren Spencer for help developing this blog post>


Read More

Don't Miss A Beat! September Is AFib Awareness Month

Happy September, Advocates!

As we head into the fall, there are many exciting things happening. Football is starting, the weather is beginning to grow cooler, and the holidays will be here before you know it. Additionally, as you may or may not know, September is AFib Awareness Month!

So, what does AFib mean?

AFib, short for atrial fibrillation, occurs when the heart’s two small upper chambers (atria) of the heart don’t beat the way they should: Instead of beating in a normal pattern, the atria beat irregularly and too fast, quivering like a bowl of gelatin. This can lead to several rhythm problems, chronic fatigue, heart failure, and even stroke – a 5x greater risk.

Unfortunately, this condition actually affects many more Americans than you might think: 2.7 million! Approximately 40% of individuals with either AFib or Heart Failure will develop the other condition – which is a lot of people.

Several of our Mid-Atlantic Affiliate volunteers have personal experience with AFib. Their experiences bring them to the AHA and You’re the Cure. Many of our policies, such as the importance of funding the NIH and their research, are the reasons why our advocates are passionate about the work of You're the Cure. You can encourage our lawmakers to continue NIH funding by taking action at the community site.

Join us here to learn more about AFib and AFib Awareness Month!


Read More

Expanded Medical Insurance Coverage in Utah is on the Horizon!

Governor Herbert recently announced that he would be calling for a Special Legislative Session to address Medicaid Expansion within the next few months. This is great news for many families in the State of Utah but there is still much work to be done. We need you to contact your legislators and let them know why this is such an important issue.

In 2011, hospital charges for cardiovascular disease alone exceeded $600 million in Utah.¹ And in 2013, more than 4,000 Utahns died from cardiovascular disease and stroke, the number one cause of death in Utah.² There is no question that if there was an increased access to care and an opportunity for individuals to affordably visit their healthcare provider, many of these lives would not have been lost. In addition, if low-income Utahns remain uninsured and without access to services to manage their risk factors and chronic conditions, they will seek emergency care as complications develop, which will only further burden our state’s health care system.

Here is more information on the issue:

  • The “Gang of Six” made up of Governor Herbert, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, House Speaker Greg Hughes, Mouse Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan, Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser, and Senator Brian Shiozawa, have been meeting throughout the summer to discuss a plan that will best fit Utah. They have met with Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell on several occasions to ensure their plan will fit with federal guidelines.
    • Their proposed plan will expand state-run healthcare insurance to those families who make up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level.
      • This means that a family of four who earn less than $33,465 per year would now be eligible for healthcare benefits.
  • The proposal will protect the state budget by asking stakeholders like medical providers, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry to cover the cost.
    • This ensures that other important issues in Utah like Education, won’t see precious funds taken from them to cover the cost.
  • The proposal ensures that families of the “working poor” are able to access health coverage.
  • The “working poor” are those who do have jobs, but that have employers who either do not offer medical insurance or the amount of hours they are offered do not qualify them for certain benefits. Surveys have shown that of those who would benefit, more than 66% of this population have at least one job. This will help protect Utah’s working families.

Please take the time to reach out to your locally elected officials and encourage them to support Utah’s efforts to expand medical insurance coverage for the Utahns who need it the most!

Read More

Close the Gap, Share Your Story

Guest Blogger: Erin Bennett, Idaho Government Relations Director

Do you know someone who falls in the healthcare coverage gap in Idaho? Do you fall in the gap? Do you, your family, your friends, and coworkers have access to the care needed to ensure you stay healthy?

Odds are, you know someone who currently falls in the healthcare coverage gap. With approximately 78,000 individuals in Idaho who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid coverage, yet earn too little to qualify for subsidies on the healthcare exchange, thousands of Idahoans go without healthcare every year. We want to hear your story.

When people don’t have access to health care, they ignore signs and symptoms that lead to more serious issues, or they don’t seek treatment at the first signs of a problem. For example, someone with high blood pressure could monitor it with regular check-ups and medication. However, without access to care, this same person may not be aware of the problem until it leads to a heart attack or stroke.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Idaho is working with the Close the Gap Coalition to help improve healthcare coverage in Idaho, so everyone can take responsibility for their health. Through the Healthy Idaho Plan, those who cannot currently afford health insurance will be able to purchase affordable coverage in the private market. This can help lower costs to our healthcare system, save taxpayer dollars, and improve healthcare throughout Idaho.

Your story matters. If you or someone you know are currently in the coverage gap, we want to hear from you. We encourage you to share your story with your elected officials as well, so we can all solve this problem and close the gap.

Call 1.844.HELP78K (1.877.435.7785) or visit You can also join Close the Gap Idaho on Facebook, or follow on Twitter, @closethegapID, and help show your support with #78000cantwait and #healthyID. To learn more, visit Your support helps improve health for all Idahoans.

Read More

Emilie Singh

Emilie Singh, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

"When Chloe Saved Gracie’s Life"

It was a busy Sunday in 2013 and no one realized my 8 year old daughter Gracie wasn’t feeling well.  She woke up late and asked to take a bath but we told her we wanted to go to Costco first.  We went out to Costco and ran a few other errands.  June in Arizona …it was a hot day. 

When we got home Gracie again asked if she could take a bath. She’s old enough to take baths on her own, and she got it started by herself.  I was upstairs while she was in the tub for a bit, but then went downstairs to change the laundry, and I would occasionally yell “Grace are you ok?” and she would answer “yes”.  My other daughter Chloe (age 11 at the time) was in her room next to the upstairs bathroom watching a show. 

On my way back upstairs with the laundry I again yelled “Grace are you ok?”  But this time she didn’t answer.  I just had a weird feeling, I dropped the laundry, raced into the bathroom and found Gracie blue under the water not breathing.

I started screaming at the top of my lungs “Call 911, call 911!”  As I grabbed Gracie and pulled her out of the tub and put her on the floor, Chloe pushed past me and started performing CPR, pushing on her chest hard with both hands. 

By the time my husband got upstairs with the phone and 911 on the line, Gracie was coughing and spitting up water.  In a few minutes we had her on her bed, covered with a towel and there were 10 firemen and police men in her room.  She was disoriented but thank God she was breathing. 

Gracie lost consciousness so she really doesn’t remember what happened, but she has heard us talk about it.  We just call it “When Chloe Saved Gracie’s Life.”  It seems like the best way to describe the event. 

It turned out that it had been a febrile seizure because, unknown to us, she was already sick and then went into a hot bath. It just made her fever go up higher.  Gracie spent 3 days in the hospital, and Chloe didn’t want to leave her side.  

I can’t even express how grateful I am that Chloe learned CPR in her classroom.  I wish every kid would…you just never know when it could turn them into someone else’s hero.  Chloe was certainly Gracie’s.

See the family retell the gripping story here


Read More

Oregon 2015 Legislative Session Wrap Up

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham

When our state leaders head to the capitol for the six month legislative session, they have a lot on their minds—not the least of which is the health of Oregonians. It’s the job of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and our allies in public health to ensure that decision makers know the most effective ways to improve the health of all Oregonians, and how to protect them from Oregon’s number one cause of death, cardiovascular disease, and our number one cause of preventable disability, stroke.

Oregon’s 2015 Legislative Session was a busy one for the AHA and our advocates. Here are the highlights:

  • CPR in Schools Passes: The AHA and a team of remarkable advocates led the charge to make Oregon the 23rd state to pass CPR in Schools legislation. Thanks to Senate Bill 79, all Oregon students will be trained in CPR before graduating, ultimately adding over 45,000 new lifesavers across every Oregon community. Thanks to all of the Oregon Legislature for unanimously supporting CPR in Schools, and a special thanks to Sen. Arnie Roblan, Sen. Mark Hass, Rep. Carla Piluso, Rep. Margaret Doherty, and Rep. Jeff Reardon for their leadership.
  • Improvements for Oregon’s School Food: The AHA supported continuing Oregon’s legacy as a leader in school nutrition by aligning our state’s school nutrition standards with the updated federal guidelines. House Bill 2404 will help ensure kids get the healthy food they need for a healthy future.
  • Funding for Tobacco Prevention: We helped to protect $4 million for fighting the harms of tobacco in Oregon. Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in Oregon, and our tobacco prevention programs have been effective at reducing consumption.
  • Funding for Physical Education: We helped to protect $4 million for PE in schools that will help schools hire teachers and get more active minutes into their day. This generation of kids is the most inactive in history, and it’s more important than ever that schools support healthy active living.
  • Increasing Access to Health Care: We helped pass a bill, House Bill 2468, that will put Oregon’s Insurance Division to work trying to make insurance plans more transparent and to help consumers access the care they need when they need it.

Read More

Every Idahoan Deserves Access to Affordable Healthcare

Right now in Idaho, approximately 78,000 individuals fall into what is known as the coverage gap. These are Idaho workers, veterans, and others who do not have access to affordable healthcare because they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid programs, but not enough to receive tax subsidies to purchase their own insurance. This coverage gap must be closed and that is what the Healthy Idaho Plan wants to do.

The Healthy Idaho Plan was created as a collaborative effort based on recommendations from the Governor’s Health Exchange Working Group. This consisted of a diverse array of individuals and organizations including physicians, legislators, business owners, and non-profit organizations to ensure hardworking Idahoans are able to seek care and receive the necessary services they need in order to stay healthy.

Currently, Idaho is failing to take advantage of federal dollars that could go towards covering healthcare costs, while at the same time continuing to spend millions of dollars in catastrophic and indigent care. In 2015, it is calculated that by not accepting federal dollars, Idaho forfeited $173 million in savings.  Just think of the investment we could make in Idaho’s future with that money.

Under the Healthy Idaho Plan, federal dollars would be used to help Idahoans purchase affordable health care coverage in the private insurance market, while others would gain coverage through a new Medicaid plan focused on personal responsibility and accountability. This plan saves taxpayer dollars, eliminates redundant government spending, maintains our autonomy to make healthcare decisions, and addresses our state’s needs.

The American Heart Association supports these efforts to ensure all Idahoans have access to affordable health care. If you are one of the 78,000 without access to affordable care, we want to hear from you.  If you are living in the coverage gap, we want you to share your story. You can call 1.844.HELP78K (1.877.435.7785) or visit You can also join Close the Gap Idaho on Facebook, or follow on Twitter, @closethegapID, and help show your support with #78000cantwait and #healthyID.

To learn more, visit Your support of American Heart Association and our coalition partner’s efforts will help us secure affordable, accessible health care for all Idahoans.

Read More

Critical Stroke Funding Saved!

We were able to secure $500,000 in critical funding for stroke data collection, prevention, and awareness. This is a great first step in ensuring that we are providing access to high quality of care for all stroke patients in the Commonwealth. This has not been an easy budget process and we know that if it wasn't for our dedicated advocates we would not have seen this funding included. We can't thank you all enough and look forward to continuing to work together on improving the stroke system of care in Massachusetts.

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse