American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Big News to Create a Smaller Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson has released a plan designed to help combat the troubling obesity problem we are facing in our state.

Please take a minute to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson for his plan to combat obesity across Arkansas.

"Healthy Active Arkansas" is a 10-year plan designed to improve the health of all Arkansans by making it easier to make healthy food choices and be more active.

The plan includes nine focus areas, ranging from strong nutrition standards to promoting healthy workplaces. Making changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, is an important way to help people live healthier lives. Providing healthy food options in state government facilities can foster better eating habits and support the cardiovascular and overall health of public employees and visitors to those facilities.

Please click here to ask lawmakers to show support for healthy options in state workplaces, parks, and other public property! 


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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Mozart: Good for the Heart?

For centuries, listeners of classical music have remarked about its uplifting and inspirational nature. Now, however, researchers in Greece say it might have a measurable effect on cardiovascular health. In reporting initial findings earlier this year in the journal Atherosclerosis, Charalambos Vlachopoulos of the Athens Medical School reported that subjects who listening to music saw decreases in aortic stiffness and wave reflections, and that classical music listeners saw the greatest effects.

“This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, to demonstrate that music, both classical and rock, decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflections,” wrote the researchers. In the case of this study, effects on aortic stiffness lasted as long as music was playing, and effects on wave reflections extended beyond, even as much as 30 minutes after the music was stopped. Both are causes of high blood pressure and increased strain on the heart.

While the study was quite small and more research is required to determine the overall effects that music might have on cardiovascular health, it is an intriguing first look at a new avenue for improving health by simply pressing “play.”

**Above article was written by Chris Willuhn, Advocacy Aide.

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Meet Catalina Berry, Our You're the Cure Champion

This month our Advocate Spotlight features Catalina Berry, a You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Member. Catalina has been raising her voice in support of healthy living. With her dynamic personality and passion for traveling and fitness, it has been a pleasure getting to know Catalina. It's advocates like Catalina who help us affect change in communities throughout the state. Read below to learn more about You're the Cure Champion! 

Name: Catalina Berry

Occupation: Outreach Coordinator for Seton Health Plan Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program

How long have your been volunteering with the American Heart Association:  I have been involved for 5 years but I've been more involved in the past 6 months.

Why do you advocate for heart: I like giving back to the community in general but American Heart Association has a deeper meaning for me because my daddy suffered and fortunately survived a massive heart attack in 2005. 

What is something in your life that you love: So many things! My family, exercising, giving back, friends, food! I love everything! :)

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: spend time with my family or workout 

What excites you most about advocating on local campaigns? Having my voice be heard and be able to make an impact on issues that are so important. As a Latina I want to help be a voice for a community that may not always be heard. 

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We Saved a Seat for You

Join us at the Little Rock Grassroots Action Team Meeting to learn more about advocacy efforts in the community. Meet fellow You're the Cure networkers and find out how you can make a difference in the fight against heart disease and stroke; helping us build healthier lives and communities. #BetheCure

  • Date: Thursday, October 22nd
  • Time: 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm
  • Location: Vino's in Little Rock, Arkansas

  • To RSVP, please email

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You're the Cure Advocate Pkaye Washington is Selected as National Spokesperson for Go Red for Women!

Longtime You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Chair, Pkaye Washington, was selected as a member of this year's “Real Women,” national spokespeople for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. These nine women from across the country will share their personal stories and encourage women to take a proactive role in their health by knowing their family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, yet it’s 80 percent preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 95.7 percent of study respondents considered knowledge of family history important to their personal health. The startling truth, though, is that only 36.9 percent reported actively collecting health information from their relatives.

“I’m living proof that knowledge is power,” said Pkaye Washington. “By knowing your family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit, you could be taking action today that could save your life tomorrow.”

Washington, who lives in Austin, Texas, has been living with heart disease for more than two decades. She was diagnosed with Class II heart failure in 1992, following what she thought was a bout of the flu. She’d gone to the hospital after realizing she was consistently short of breath.

It was a startling revelation for Washington, then 36, whose mother had been diagnosed with advanced heart failure and would soon need a heart transplant. Her grandmother had died from fluid around the heart when her mother was only four years old. Shock gave way to depression, followed by a resolve to make changes.

Washington now encourages women to empower themselves when it comes to their health, and to seek support from others. For the past 2 years she has supported the American Heart Association by serving as a spokesperson and an advocate for the You’re the Cure network.  She became involved with the organization when she was crowned Ms. Texas Classic and the American Heart Association was her chosen non-profit.  Currently, Washington volunteers her time as the Chair for our Austin Grassroots Action Team, where she has helped build healthier lives and communities by being a part of successful efforts to pass both state and local heart health policies. She has also been an advocate for our You’re the Cure on the Hill, traveling to Washington DC to meet with her members of Congress.
Pkaye’s story shares one common thread with the other 8 national spokeswomen– knowing your family history is important and discussing it with a health care professional is key to taking steps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

About Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Women who Go Red live healthier lives. For more than a decade Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunity for women. We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health. Our future is focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives. When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, it’s time to put our hearts into it.  Take action at

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!


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Text "ACTIVE" to 52886 to Join the Movement for Healthier Kids

September is nationally recognized as Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness with families across the country, we are asking You're the Cure advocates, family, and friends to add your voice in support helping kids and families live heart-healthy lives.

Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood.

Use these resources to help you understand childhood obesity and what you can do to fight it.

  • Text "ACTIVE" to 52286 to receive updates about advocacy efforts to combat childhood obesity on a federal, state, and local level.
  • Understanding Childhood Obesity is an American Heart Association sourcebook on child nutrition and physical activity. Both the full and condensed downloadable PDF versions are an update of the 2005 version.
  • AHA Recommendation - Overweight in Children - Obese children are more likely to be obese adults. Successfully preventing or treating overweight in childhood may help reduce the risk of heart disease, adult obesity and other complications.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Physical Activity and Children - Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children - The American Heart Association has specific healthy dietary guideline recommendations for all adults and children over the age of 2 years. more


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Volunteers Advocate on Campus for SmokeFree Fayetteville

Our advocacy team joined volunteers for SmokeFree Fayetteville to recruit new coalition members and support for the campaign last month on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Razorbash! The event hosted more than 200 booths featuring local businesses, community groups, campus departments, and registered student organizations providing students an opportunity to connect with the local community and organizations that suit their interests. Huge thank you to all of our Fayetteville Grassroots Action Team members and SmokeFree Fayetteville Coalition members for joining together to recruit over 500 new supporters!  To view photos from the event please visit:

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Ryder Roark, Our Heart Hero

By Casey Roark, You're the Cure advocate and mother of Ryder Roark

My name is Casey Roark. My occupation is an interior designer and Owner of Casey Roark Designs which I have been doing for 14 years. My husband Roman is in the Automotive Industry and has been doing that for 17 years. Roman and I have twin boys, Rowe and Ryder that will be 6 years old on September 29th. Roman and I began volunteering for the American Heart Association when we became all too familiar with heart disease. Our Ryder was diagnosed with a severe heart condition, coarctation of the aorta on February 14, 2013. Ryder was 4 at the time and a simple blood pressure check gave his pediatrician the intuition that something was very wrong. Our world changed quickly when Ryder had to go in for heart surgery at Arkansas Children’s Hospital on February 26th of 2013. Ryder had no pulses from the waist down and had Ryder’s condition gone undiagnosed, it would have been fatal. We are so thankful a pediatric blood pressure cuff was there and that the doctor’s office has made it standard to do a blood pressure check on all patients. That small piece of equipment saved Ryder’s life. Our family is passionate about supporting the American Heart Association in its goal to reduce the number of children born with congenital heart defects, and to make advancements in being able to diagnose CHDs at an earlier time.

Something in our life that we love is definitely being outdoors, whether it's hanging out at a river or lake or being on the beach somewhere we love being outside and spending time together as a family. Our boys love riding their bikes, playing soccer and baseball and just being kids!!! Roman and I probably enjoy watching them do these things most on our time off. We definitely make our time count when we are together because when you go through something like we did with Ryder’s illness …those days of them playing and riding their bikes and your family vacations…those memories are what get you through the scary times.

Ryder is now approaching 6. He is in kindergarten and loves his teacher and classmates and most of all loves to read. He also enjoys sports and art and Ryder loves to sing! He is doing great and all his checkups he has gotten a clean bill of health which we are so grateful for. Now Roman and I are so passionate to make sure cases like Ryder's can be detected before it is too late.

Roman, Ryder, Rowe and I will be attending the National Institutes Health Rally in Washington, D.C. on September 16th and 17th and what excites us most is to get the message to Congress that the American Heart Association needs the funding to keep the message alive about heart disease and stroke. Roman and I would also love to see it that blood pressure screenings are mandatory in the elementary schools. Hearing and eye Screenings are mandatory and these are very important but so is a heart condition that with one simple test could detect something so huge.


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