American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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State Lobby Day: A Day to Remember

We are excited that you are joining us May 10th for the 2016 NC AHA You’re the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day.   To help you feel ready, we want to provide some important information about Lobby Day.

Lobby Day Schedule:

  • Registration check-in will open at 8:30 am at the Legislative Building Auditorium (link to map below). 
  • The training program will begin promptly at 9:00 am and conclude by 10:30 am so that you will be able to visit with your lawmakers. During the training we will go over the day’s events, our "asks" for the day, divide into your Lobby Day meeting groups, and have time to practice with your group. 
  • Lunch will be at the General Assembly Cafeteria in the Legislative Building. 
  • Rest area during the day is in the 1200 Court of the Legislative Building. Here you will find AHA staff, have a place to complete meeting evaluations, and take a break. 
  • All activities will conclude by 3:30 pm. 

What to wear and bring with you:

  • Visiting the legislature is an active day.  So wear comfortable shoes! 
  • Business attire is recommended, and we request that you wear something red. 
  • Also – don’t forget to check the weather – if it is supposed to rain, bring your umbrella! (Our event is rain or shine!)

Visiting the Legislature (Parking and Directions):

Staying in Raleigh:
If you prefer to come to Raleigh the evening before, here are some hotels in the downtown area that are convenient to the Legislature:

  • Marriot City Center: 500 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 833-1120
  • Sheraton: 421 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 834-9900
  • Holiday Inn (least expensive and closest to the Legislative Complex): 320 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603 - Phone: (919) 832-0501

We know that was a lot of information to digest!  That is why we will wait until next week to send out information about the issues we will be talking with our legislators about.  When that information is up, you will be able to read about it by checking back with us on this post.

If you have questions about the logistical information, please contact Kacie Kennedy for more information.


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Governor Haley Signs Lifesaving Hands-On CPR in Schools Bill into Law

Governor Nikki Haley signed House Bill 3265 into law on Thursday, April 21, requiring all South Carolina students to learn hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This essential life skill will be incorporated into the already required high school health education curriculum and will ultimately benefit countless families by increasing the number of people with CPR proficiency.  Far too many people die suddenly from cardiac arrest who might have been saved if only those around them were trained to administer CPR.

Coleman Maness, a young, sudden cardiac arrest survivor and American Heart Association volunteer shared his thoughts. "We have been working so hard on this legislation for the past four years, and it is great to finally see the result of our hard work today. My life was saved by Bailey Barnes who performed bystander CPR, and this bill will ensure that other cardiac arrest victims will have a greater chance at survival." Coleman’s story of survival motivated a close friend, at the time a high school student, Sally Sheppard, to take action by working with a local legislator to have CPR in Schools legislation introduced during the 2012 session.

House Bill 3265 was sponsored by over 20 representatives and passed the House unanimously in 2015. The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children endorsed the CPR in Schools legislation.

Thank your lawmakers for passing this livesaving measure.

Nearly 424,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent survive, most likely because bystanders simply don’t know what to do. When administered right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR will fill the state with lifesavers, giving sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive making our communities safer and improving South Carolina’s survival rates.

South Carolina becomes the 30th state to require hands-on CPR joining Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—all of which require CPR be taught to students in middle or high school.

The legislation was endorsed by 14 national and statewide organizations including the American Heart Association, South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs, South Carolina State Firefighters Association, and the South Carolina chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Be sure to send your thank you now.

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Fresh Food for Strong Kids

Why do we need a Healthy Corner Store Initiative?  This week, Valerie King, from Yadkinville, shares her thoughts.

Help us bring healthy foods to all NC communities this year – tell your lawmaker today.

"My little diva was born with a congenital heart defect. She has had 5 open heart surgeries and is the strongest kid I know. As we shuffle about from one after school activity to another, I get upset when I realize I have forgotten any snacks for her. When you live in rural North Carolina there aren’t many options available to stop and pick her up a quick healthy snack.

Her heart disease is something we couldn’t prevent. Now that she is here we want to be able to make sure she fuels her body with what she needs."

We all deserve the right to make a healthy choice. As legislative session is just around the corner, tell your lawmakers today that healthy food should be accessible in all communities, and ask them to support HB 250, the Healthy Small Food Retailer Act.

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We Want You... To Come To State Lobby Day

Don’t worry!  There is still time to register for NC AHA You're the Cure State Lobby Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. But if you haven't already signed up - don't delay! Sign up here.

The event will begin promptly at 9am with an issues overview and advocacy training at the legislative building. The rest of the day will be spent meeting face to face with lawmakers and watching the House and Senate in action. We anticipate the day ending around 3:30pm.

This year, we will be advocating for the following policy initiatives:

  • Passage of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with full funding.
  • Sharing the vital importance of accessing healthcare.

Register now! It's easy - just click here. Please register by Monday, April 25, as space is limited.

Final event details will be emailed in late April.

If you have any questions, please contact Kacie Kennedy.

We look forward to an exciting day with our advocates!


Kim Chidester, Sarah Jacobson, & Betsy Vetter
Your North Carolina Advocacy Team

*PS - Want to make your registration easier? On the "detailed information" page, check the box beside the statement "carry forward" and your information will auto-fill on the next page of the registration form.

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Jocelyn Gomez

August 7th, 2015 was the start of the most life-changing event of our lives. My father, mother, and I were sitting in the emergency room that night waiting to be called on. As the minutes went by a tragedy was about to occur without even knowing. My father was at the emergency room for the pain he had on his left foot. His pinky was swelled up, bruised, and a very bright red mark was on the top part of his foot. 

That night my father found out he was diabetic when his blood sugar level was at 750. My father was already a survivor of three heart attacks and the news of him being diabetic was just another thing to add to the plate. Unfortunately, my father has a rare condition where he creates blood clots very easily. This became a massive problem to his foot. The pain was due to the lack of blood circulation and the different techniques that the doctor’s applied were just not enough. After the unsuccessful peripheral bypass surgery, there was no other option than to have an amputation below the knee.

Recovery is and will always be difficult because it is not only a physical recovery, but a mental recovery as well. His loving family and friends always surround him, which is a huge support. Today, my father is slowly adapting to his new lifestyle with a very optimistic attitude. Being diabetic has given him a different view to life and is thankful that he is still alive to tell his story.

My experience at the American Heart Association as an advocacy volunteer has been one of a kind. I’ve learned remarkable things and became part of a community that works very hard to prevent serious health conditions such as diabetes. Working on the SSB campaign has helped me gain more understanding on how much sugar we are consuming without even knowing. Avoiding sugar sweetened beverages and learning how to prevent health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes is extremely important. My father did not care much about his health until his unfortunate amputation. After this life experience, my interest in working in the public health arena has skyrocketed. Educating my own family on healthier choices to prevent any further health conditions is just the beginning. It is never too late to live a healthy lifestyle!

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Legislative Session 2016

This February the 2016 Oregon Legislature convened for a 35-day session. The American Heart Association had two priority issues that our advocates successfully educated legislators about and built momentum for Oregon’s longer legislative session in 2017.

Protecting Kids from Tobacco:

One of our top priorities was to protect Oregon kids from tobacco. We successfully kicked off our Tobacco 21 for Oregon campaign, our effort to raise the legal sale age of tobacco to 21. Research has shown that raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21 will reduce addiction and prevent disease. Alongside Sen. Steiner Hayward and youth advocates, we held a kick-off press conference announcing our new coalition of 22 organizations. Our advocacy generated media coverage across the state: here are the Statesman Journal and the Portland Tribune’s articles. Here are photos from Tobacco 21 for Oregon Kick Off.

We invited over 90 youth advocates in middle and high school to join us at the Capitol, where they signed pledges to be tobacco-free and to meet with their legislators. You can see our AHA Advocacy Day photos here: AHA Advocacy Day

As legislators introduced a bill to establish statewide tobacco retail licensure, we also worked to prevent Big Tobacco’s bad amendments from moving forward.

Supporting Physically Active Kids:

Another priority was to give Oregon kids opportunities to be more physically active. Too many Oregon kids aren’t getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day that they need to be healthy, putting them at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

This session we advocated for increased funding of Oregon’s Safe Routes to School program to support increased walking and biking. We also worked to increase support for Oregon’s critically important Physical Education requirement. Starting next year, all schools must provide the recommended number of PE minutes for elementary and middle school students.

While no additional funds were allocated this session, we successfully educated decision makers and built momentum for the longer 2017 legislative session.

Oregon Capitol Goes Red

Dozens of legislators joined the American Heart Association on Wear Red Day to raise awareness of the impact of heart disease, especially on women. You can see photos here: Oregon Capitol Goes Red

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Psst ... We Want To Tell You Something Big!

Throughout the year, we reach out with a "THANK YOU!" message to our advocates because we want you to know that your efforts are making a difference and saving lives.

We appreciate you every moment of every day.  We value those times when you rush through dinner with your family to make to make a council meeting in your community, and when you stand up and share your reasons for supporting an AHA policy. 

It means so much to us when you dedicate your time to State Lobby Day, meeting with legislators to reinforce support for active legislation.  And we can’t forget to thank you for driving to in-district Congressional offices to thank lawmakers for their support on AHA’s federal issues.  When you click to send a letter online it is incredibly valuable to our efforts and we genuinely appreciate your efforts. 

We know you have a choice about how you spend your time.  The fact that you invest in You're the Cure honors us - so this week, National Volunteer Appreciation Week, we honor you. Because YOU are our "why."

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Urge House Human Services Committee to Support Nutrition Standards for State Government

We've made great progress in moving legislation through the Senate that would require nutrition standards for food sold and served by Vermont state agencies. But we need your help in urging a House committee to advance this legislation, S.196. If Vermont enacts this measure, we'd be the first state in the country to set standards for food sold by the state in vending, food service and institutions. That would be terrific news in our efforts in trying to reduce diet-related diseases and obesity.

  • Government needs to walk-the-walk to serve as a role model for other businesses in the state to assure access to healthy foods and beverages and address diet-related diseases.
  • In the United States, obesity and diet-related disease cost $190 billion annually in health care costs. Vermont spends approximately $290 million each year.
  • About half of those costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The other costs are paid by businesses and individual citizens.
  • Obesity-related chronic diseases are projected to sky-rocket if current trends continue. The Robert Wood Johnson Annual State of Obesity report shows Vermont’s 38,000 cases of heart disease will climb to 190,000 in the next 15 years if we don’t act now.
  • Providing healthier food options on public property is a sensible, low-cost chronic disease prevention strategy.
  • Healthy vending practices could help to decrease health care costs and lost productivity due to chronic diseases.
  • Healthy vending on public property supports and models healthy eating.
  • Consumer choice is changing and vendors need to keep pace. A Vermont Department of Health 2015 survey of state employees found:
    • 89% preferred healthy foods in their diet always or as often as possible
    • 75% said they would be willing to spend more for healthier options if they were available in the building

Please let House Human Services Committee members know this issue is important to you! Contact them at:

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Tessa Daniels Urges Lawmakers to Require a Test that Saved Her Son

Springfield mom Tessa Daniels, with 2 ½ year old son Sawyer and family in tow, urged House Health Care Committee members recently to pass legislation that would require all birthing facilities in Vermont to require a test that helped save her son’s life right after he was born.

Tessa had an uneventful delivery in 2013 but six hours later a nurse didn’t think baby Sawyer looked right and performed a pulse oximetry test. This test, which involves a simple clip to the finger or toe and senses blood oxygen levels, helped physicians detect a critical heart defect of Sawyer’s which would have been fatal had it gone undiagnosed.

Tessa told committee members that requiring the test which costs around $4, would ensure no Vermont newborn would leave a Vermont hospital with an undiagnosed heart defect.

Join the American Heart Association, Tessa and husband Elijah along with Sawyer and his sister Penelope at our legislative reception from 4:00-6:00pm on Wednesday, April 13th at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier. We’ll promote pulse oximetry legislation as well as legislation to set nutrition standards for food sold by state government and raise the purchasing age for tobacco to 21.

And urge House Health Care Committee members to pass the pulse oximetry bill soon! You can contact committee members at

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Being a Mom is Hard Work. Finding Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to Be.

Over the coming weeks, our advocates will be sharing why they believe North Carolina needs healthy corner stores.   

Help us bring healthy corner stores to our state in 2016 – tell your lawmaker today.

Anmarie Wyrick, from Matthews, says:

"Sometimes it’s just so hard to be the mom you want to be. When you’re sprinting out the door, balancing dropping the kids off at school and taking business calls, you forget breakfast. Or lunch. The only option left is to rush into a convenience store and pray there is something there worth eating, and more importantly, worth giving to your precious children to eat. It would be such a relief to know there were healthy options on hand!"

We all deserve the right to make a healthy choice for our families, wherever we live.  Tell your lawmakers today that you want all North Carolinians to have access to healthy, affordable foods and ask them to support HB 250, the Healthy Food Small Retailer Act.

Why do you think North Carolina needs healthy corner stores?  Let us know in the comments below!

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