American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
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Carol Sterling

Carol Sterling began her time as a volunteer for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Ponca City, working with Heart Walk. Over the past few years, Carol became involved in the Go Red for Women campaign through the Passion Committee. Her first opportunity to learn about Advocacy happened when she attended her first Go Red Day at the Capitol event in February 2014, where she spoke to her state lawmakers about the importance of CPR training for High School students.
Since then, Carol has been an active member of the You’re the Cure network, and participated in many proclamation ceremonies for Stroke and Heart disease awareness. Carol is a Heart Disease survivor, and enjoys sharing her story with lawmakers because she believes it’s important to put a face to heart disease in Oklahoma.
Carol will soon head to Washington D.C. for the 2015 You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day and will meet with members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation on important issues such as funding for the National Institute of Health and School Nutrition. 

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National Walking Day Highlights

Kick-starting a physical activity routine was the focus on Wednesday, April 1st at some Central Arkansas Schools. The students participated in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day. In Little Rock, 5th graders at Jefferson Elementary heard from Mayor Mark Stodola about heart health and the importance of activity. The group then took a walk around the school’s track.

In North Little Rock, Mayor Joe Smith spoke with 3rd grade students at Indian Hills before joining in a heart healthy walk.

In Maumelle, students at Academics Plus Charter School laced up their sneakers to head outside and walk. Americans are encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day.

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2015 Arkansas Legislature Has Adjourned

The 2015 Legislature has adjourned in Arkansas and considered a number of health related measures.  The most high profile bill continued the “Private Option” allowing hundreds of thousands of residents to retain their private health coverage. 

First passed in 2013, the Private Option has allowed Arkansas to have one of the sharpest declines of uninsured residents in the country, as well as helped to reduce the number of costly emergency room visits. This bill (SB 101) will now head over to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Another bill supported by the American Heart Association was HB 1465 which would have helped improve stroke care in Arkansas.  While this bill did not pass it did receive a committee hearing with favorable testimony from AHA volunteers and the medical community. 

We are hopeful the Legislature will choose to study this issue further during the interim and enact similar legislation next year. 

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We are going mobile!

Text 'YTC2015' to 52886 to begin receiving campaign updates and calls to action via text messages! 

You don't have to be a lobbyist to call on lawmakers - just an advocate passionate about heart and stroke issues. In just a few moments, you can make a huge difference.

We'll make it easy for you to email, phone or even visit your legislators. And we'll keep you informed on the progress you're making as one of the very important voices for the cure.

Together You’re the Cure advocates have succeeded in creating smoke-free communities, placing AEDs in public places, securing funding for medical research, and more through policy change.

Text 'YTC2015' to 52886 today!

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Tania Boughton

Tania Noelle Boughton is Chair of the AHA State Leadership Council for Obesity Prevention, the author of cookbook Eating Light, Done Right, and the founder of “Check the Light Before You Bite!” a healthy eating program in school districts, geared toward helping children make healthier food choices. But first and foremost, Tania is Mom to her two sons.
A few years ago, Tania saw what appeared to be a hole in the self-help/cookbook market. As she quickly dropped her baby weight and experienced droves of people at the gym asking how, began to she dig deeper. She realized that while she had made the decision to stop eating emotionally, many of these people had not. Herein lies the groundwork for Eating Light, Done Right: Simply Sinless Recipes from the Single Mom Next Door. Drawing on her experience in the military counseling troops on weight control, she quickly realized that she loved helping people face the demons within. This turning point redirected her life in a positive direction.
As a mom, Tania knows how important it is to make eating healthy fun for kids. That’s why she teamed up with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to establish a program called “Check the Light Before You Bite!” to reward kids when they choose healthy food options at school. The program is in full swing with sponsors, teams and professional athletes signing on, however she quickly realized that her work needed to be taken a step further. Rewarding children for writing recipes, essays and making healthier eating decisions was progress, however it wasn't enough. As she traveled further into schools and the underserved areas, she realized that many of these children didn't have the option to eat healthfully, because they had little to no access to grocery stores and healthy food.
Tania understood that her journey to improve children’s health would not be complete without being involved in advocacy through You’re the Cure, to engage Texas lawmakers to change policies for the better. Tania came upon a poignant moment this past December when delivering holiday gifts to an elementary school in Dallas. The hallways were lined with children, Pre-K to fifth grade, waiting to go home. Each student was holding an apple or pear, given to them by the cafeteria staff because otherwise the fruit would have spoiled overnight.

Tania was struck by the fact that these apples and pears may be the only fruit, or dinner that the children would have at home that night. This moment was both heartbreaking and motivating, all in one. The Voices for Healthy Kids Texas Campaign, in which Tania is an active participant through her role on the State Leadership Council, will work diligently to change this, so all Texas families can access grocery stores. Tania is passionate about engaging more volunteers in this effort, and the You’re the Cure Texas team thanks her for her dedication!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Thurman Paul

Thurman Paul is like many You’re the Cure Advocates connected to stroke. His father’s uncle suffered a stroke two years ago.  His interest in the Advocacy work of the American Heart Association began with a simple call to action to sign a petition in support of obesity prevention on the community level.

Thurman promptly signed the petition and answered a follow-up email to supporters of the petition asking for those interested in learning more about the American Heart Association’s advocacy work to reply to the email. He did so because he believes finding a cure for heart disease and stroke should be a priority.  Thurman’s first activity as a You’re the Cure Advocate involved a visit to U.S. Senator James Inhofe’s office to advocate for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The concept of volunteerism and activism is not a new one for Thurman. He recently returned from a service trip to Nicaragua where he taught classes and distributed food and supplies to youth groups.

Thurman has also worked with his mother to visit juvenile centers and visit with youth.   Travel and new experiences are a driving factor in his commitment to service. “Volunteerism is a way for me to give back while being around people,” he said. 

Interested in becoming more involved with the American Heart Association’s fight to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke? Email Brian Bowser at to learn more about how you can take action!

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Stroke Bill Considered in the Legislature

An important bill that will help stroke patients get faster quality treatment is being considered in the Arkansas Legislature.  We need your help to ask lawmakers to vote YES on HB1465!

Take action now!]

This bill will allow for the development of emergency medical service protocols related to the care of stroke patients. Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in our state and is the #5 killer.

The development of these protocols will help to help stroke patients receive quality care in a timely manner and improve outcomes. We strongly endorse this legislation because it will help get stroke patients the fast treatment and quality of care that is so essential.                 

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'Going Nuts' May Help Heart Health

“Going nuts” might actually be heart-healthy, according to the latest study to examine the association of nut and peanut consumption with mortality.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined nut and peanut intake and mortality in three separate groups over an average of six years and found lower rates of death, especially from heart disease. The study was published online this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Studies for the last few decades have probed the question of whether and how nut and peanut intake reduces the chances of death from cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses, such as cancer. But the new study’s senior author, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, said this most recent investigation is important because it focuses on low-income and racially diverse populations – a group of primarily African-American and low-income people in the United States, two groups of people in Shanghai, China – while the others were mostly among white or wealthier groups.

“The bottom line is peanuts may be able to serve as an alternative for nuts in cardiovascular health,” said Shu, associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and professor of medicine in the Division of Epidemiology. “Particularly for people who cannot afford to incorporate tree nuts.”

Peanuts are legumes, not nuts, because they grow in bushes.

Participants included more than 70,000 Americans of African and European descent from the Southern Community Cohort Study, who were mostly low-income and more than 130,000 Chinese from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study.

Peanut consumption was associated with a 17 percent to 21 percent reduction in deaths and a 23 percent to 38 percent decrease in cardiovascular death, across all three racial and ethnic groups, among both genders and among people with low socioeconomic status.

The study measured the estimated nut/peanut intake level during the last year before investigators began tracking survival status for participants and found that the most beneficial amounts for the U.S. population was about 18 grams or 2/3 ounce of nuts and peanuts a day. That’s a small handful.

Interestingly, Shu said, that jibes with the recommendation from the American Heart Association.

Lifestyle guidelines from the AHA and American College of Cardiology specifically include nuts as part of a dietary pattern that is associated with reduced atherosclerotic risk.
The next step, according to Shu, is to continue to follow the three study groups and look into whether there are any biomarkers in the populations that help to measure the nut/peanut intake more accurately, and to investigate nut/peanut intake in association with mortality from other causes, such as specific types of cancer. She said these studies have collected urine and blood samples and will be able to dig deeper into why the nut consumption helps, such as by comparing metabolic profiles of those who eat more peanuts to those eat less within each of the study groups.

“We hope someone will pick up this idea and do a clinical trial to draw some more conclusions,” Shu said.

Nuts and seeds are typically rich in unsaturated fats, magnesium, and copper, with smaller amounts of protein, fiber, and iron. Still here are few points to remember about nut intake:
• Salt. Each 1-ounce serving, about ¼ cup or 4 flat tablespoons, of salted nuts can have as much as 100 to 300 mg of sodium. So it’s important to check the nutrition facts for sodium and look for unsalted, raw or lightly salted brands.
• Portion control. The latest cohort study showed benefits from nut intake for people who ate 2/3 ounce, or about 18 grams, of peanuts a day, on average. That’s about a handful, with about 28 peanuts per ounce.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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Don Bremner - 3 Time Heart Survivor and Advocate

I had my first heart attack at the age of 51 about an hour after a hard game of squash.  Up to that point I was in excellent health and maintained my fitness by running 10Ks and half-marathons.  I knew about my family heart history but like many thought, ’I’m fitter and healthier with a much better diet than Dad had’ believing it wouldn’t impact me.

But that changed an hour after a squash game in 2004 when I felt nausea, dizziness, sweating, and threw up several times. Twenty minutes later there was no pain but tightening in my chest. Being a guy I made a practical decision to drive 17 miles home to my wife. Do not do this.

Once home the paramedics were called quickly and I started receiving medical attention. The great work they do includes communicating with the hospital so they are prepared to receive you and this can be life- saving.

They put paddles to my chest in the wagon leading to a stent in RCA. Home lunchtime Wed. I went back to the gym Saturday to ramp up my fitness slowly.

In 2005 I experienced a similar event and had another episode in 2012.  I am very fortunate to survive these events and feel compelled to share my story and help others.

I have made it my mission to talk with groups of people to help them learn the risk factors and warning signs associated with heart disease – especially men!  I have found that guys have a terrific ability to ignore warning signs and not admit when their body is telling them something is wrong. 

I explain the importance of good nutrition and exercise.  But I also explain the critical role that genes and family history play in one’s risk for heart disease.  My dad died at age 59 from cardiovascular disease after three events.  His dad also died at 67 from CVD.  My brother had a double by pass at age 49 and is thankfully still living at 76.

My message is simple: know your risk, know your numbers, and don’t ignore warning signs.  Listen to your Doctor and act on their advice. Your loved ones and friends will thanks you.

While I have made many presentations over the years I recently made a trip to the New Mexico Capitol to share my story with lawmakers.  With the help of heart and stroke healthy legislation we can continue to not only raise awareness but improve effective systems of care for patients. 

I look forward to sharing my story with anyone willing to hear it and encourage you to share your voice in any way you can. 

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First Steps for a Smoke-Free Fayetteville

Want to see a 100% Smoke Free Fayetteville? Then join us for a Smoke Free Fayetteville Meet and Greet on Wednesday, February 18th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center, 1100 North Woolsey Avenue, Fayetteville, AR 72703.

For more information please contact Allison Hogue at

We believe everyone deserves the right to breathe smoke-free air.  Nobody should be forced to choose between their health and a paycheck.  Come meet other volunteers and community healthy supporters as we discuss next steps for Smoke-Free Fayetteville. 



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