American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Legislative Update: We're One Step Closer to Improved Care

When a heart attack occurs, quality care in a timely manner is essential to a patient’s survival. Coordinated systems of care, which include hospitals equipped and ready to deliver this care, are vital. 

Your AHA Colorado Advocacy Team, along with a dedicated group of You're the Cure advocates, are working hard to secure the passage of House Bill 1357 which would improve heart attack systems of care throughout the state. 
We need your support now more than ever. 
House Bill 1357 has passed the House of Representatives and will soon be considered by the Senate. 
If you want to join the movement to help pass House Bill 1357, please email
Your action will make a difference. 

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Denver Grassroots Action Team Leads the Way

**Guest post written by Julie Knowles

Denver volunteers met recently to discuss the American Heart Association’s advocacy efforts in Colorado. They also happily welcomed a new and very motivated member to the Denver Grassroots Action Team. The importance of finding volunteers from all over Colorado was a key topic of discussion because Colorado lawmakers respond strongly to individual voices from their districts.

Volunteers also conferred on the best way to support the Heart Attack Bill (HB 1357) which would support a Task’s force’s efforts to improve Heart Attack care in Colorado. The volunteers ended the meeting feeling empowered to get signatures and educate their communities about this bill in hopes to cultivate enthusiasm from diverse proponents. 
If you're interested in joining the Denver Grassroots Action Team, please contact for additional information. 

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Meet Mary Mandel, Our You're the Cure Hero
Every day we take thousands of steps to get where we need to go. You're the Cure advocate Mary Mandel knows this and is advocating for everyone to take the step toward a healthier lifestyle!
Meet Mary: 
As a heart attack survivor, I know the importance of taking time to take care of yourself. Many Americans aren’t dedicating enough time for physical activity. And it means we’re at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. But we’re not going to take it sitting down! 
Join me and millions of Americans this month, as we pledge to live a healthier lifestyle and get physically active. Visit and use the American Heart Association’s free tips and tools to stay motivated on your walking program. 
  • Name:  Mary Mandel
  • Occupation:  Cardiac Medical Yoga Instructor
  • How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association and what is your volunteer role:  I have been volunteering since 2011.  I volunteer for Go Red for Women, and I am also on the Passion Committee.  This year, I am starting to volunteer for the Advocacy team and I have joined the Austin Grassroots Action Team.
  • Why do you advocate for Heart:  To build awareness and to saves lives!  I never thought I would be affected by heart disease, and it ended up nearly taking my life...twice!  Perhaps if I had seen another young, healthy woman speak about heart disease, I would have recognized the symptoms and I would have gone to the emergency room sooner, which would have prevented many of the heart issues I now live with and manage on a daily basis.
  • What is something in your life that you love:  I absolutely love seeing my little 5-year old boy grow into the smart, compassionate, sweetheart that he is.
  • What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off:  yoga, meditation, and drumming!
  • Fun Fact about yourself:  I have lived in nearly every corner of the world...Europe, Asia, South America and India.

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Meet Shaik A. Khader, You're the Cure Advocate

Shaik A. Khader is a new member of the Denver Grassroots Action Team. He has joined the fight against heart disease and stroke and has been advocating for a healthier Colorado!
Name: Shaik A. Khader
Occupation: Public Health Intern
How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association?  
Since, October 2015.
Why do you advocate to build healthier lives and communities, free of heart disease and stroke?
I advocate to promote healthy hearts in the population, to raise awareness and to influence the public to take care of their health through regular exercise, a low sodium diet and going for early screenings to help prevent heart disease. Because, “Prevention is better than a Cure.”
What are your passions and your interests in life?
My passion is to become a good doctor and a public health advocate, and to educate people about chronic diseases like Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension and Cardiovascular disease and ways to prevent these conditions. My interests are hiking, exercising regularly, reading books, watching movies and doing some gardening. In my free time I like to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world. For example, news about politics, the environment and climate change and advancements in technology.
What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off?
Read medical related books and follow up with new research, as well as hang out with friends.
What excited you most about joining the Denver Grassroots Action Team?
My dedication to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases, and to help educate people on prevention and living a heart healthy life.

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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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Meet Mylan Shaunfield, Advocate for Health

We are thrilled to highlight one of our newest You're the Cure advocates, Mylan Shaunfield. He's been advocating for heart health in record speed. Mylan has shown his passion through participating in Advocating for Heart events at the Capitol, and has even been known to drop by legislative offices for a quick visit in support of our heart healthy priorities. 

While Mylan is one of our newest advocates, he represents the growing trend of young professionals who want to get involved in the fight against heart disease and stroke. 
Name: Mylan W. Shaunfield
Occupation: Attorney & Counselor at Law
How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association and what is your volunteer Role: Grassroots Action Team Member. Since October 2015 
Why do you Advocate for Heart:  A number of reasons but the three biggest is the passing of my father at the young age of 60 due to heart failure, and the environment we live in facilitates an unhealthy lifestyle and sets us up for failure from a health perspective.  The fact that healthcare is our nation's largest expenditure, and It's an unrealistic expectation for people to live a healthy lifestyle when it's cheaper and easier to be unhealthy. 
What is something in your life that you love: My job allows me to help people nearly every day
What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: Traveling to places I've never been, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people
Fun Fact about yourself: In 2013 I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and an action shot of me next to the bulls made it on Yahoo news' and CNN's top stories.

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Colorado Promotes Heart Health for National #WearRedDay!
Recently, You’re the Cure advocates and Colorado lawmakers gathered to recognize Wear Red Day and the Go Red for Women movement. Here’s a recap of our day: 
We started the morning with conversation and breakfast, followed by two special guest speakers.  Volunteer advocates Gretchen Whitehurst and Tom Lucero spoke to the group about their experience advocating and testifying at the State Capitol. We were inspired by their stories and energized to get started on our advocacy day! We stopped for a moment to take a group photo showcasing our RED outfits, and posted our #GoRedSelfies. Afterward, we made our way to the Senate Floor to hear a state resolution reading that declaring Wear Red day in Colorado. 
The fun didn’t stop there, we then proceeded to the House of Representatives chamber where we were able to participate in the House Resolution presentation. Shortly after that, we met with lawmakers and legislative staff to chat about our efforts to end heart disease and stroke, and build healthier lives. All in all it was a great morning, and we made a difference in efforts to raise awareness and educate policymakers on the importance of fighting heart disease and stroke through strong public policies.

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Meet Kari & TK

In our Volunteer Spotlight this month we would love for you to meet TWO of our Oklahoma Grassroots Action Team members:

Name: Kari Stender, M.P.H. (pictured on right)

Hometown: Sioux City, IA-but I've lived in Oklahoma for 9 years

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Exercising-especially running. Oh! Camping too!

Favorite Concert: Backstreet Boys...hands down

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Languages. I speak Spanish and English fluently but I'd love to add more languages. I love travelling so knowing many languages would make that a lot easier!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I love the many initiatives AHA is working on to make our communities healthier. I believe that everyone has the right to good health and AHA is working towards eliminating barriers that might stand in the way.

Name: TaKisha "TK" L. Lovelace (pictured on left)

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Hanging out with my family

Favorite Concert: The Hopeville Tour featuring Yolonda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, and Kirk Frankiln

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Relationships. Because we all need a great support group to help us function to the best of our ability!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I got involved with AHA because of the commitment it has to building communities and spreading awareness to help us all become better people.

Thank you so much to both of these ladies for being rock star advocates for heart health in Oklahoma! 

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Meet Sandi Shaw
I'm delighted for our You're the Cure advocates to meet Sandi Shaw. Sandi's  story and connection to stroke is powerful and one that I hope inspires readers to take action and get involved in the grassroots movement to fight heart disease and stroke! 
Name:  Sandi G. Shaw, RN, BSN
Occupation:  Stroke Program Coordinator
How long have you been volunteering with the American Heart Association?  
20 years. I became more active since my husband’s death from a heart attack and my mother’s multiple strokes.  
Why do you advocate to build healthier lives and communities, free of heart disease and stroke?
By the time I was 32 years old, I was a widow. At age 36, I became the primary caregiver for my mother who suffered a Stroke. Four years later, she would be diagnosed with another Stroke. As a result of these events, my life was immediately changed. I constantly asked myself these questions: What signs did I miss? How did I miss the signs? As a nurse who specialized in Cerebrovascular events for many years, I blamed myself. My next question: What can I do to stop blaming myself and help other patients and families? I realized I can help them by sharing my experiences, educating them about Stroke and Community Resources, and reducing their fears about Stroke. As a result, we all recover together.               
What are your passions and your interests in life?
20 years ago, Stroke was the 3rd leading cause of death. It’s now the 5th leading cause of death. We are moving in the right direction…as with stroke recovery, it takes time. It’s my desire to encourage clinicians to learn about Stroke and become experts in caring for Stroke patients. It’s my desire that patients and families understand they are not alone in their recovery. We will support them in every process from the Emergency Department to discharge. My ultimate passion is that patients and families are confident excellent Stroke care will be provided as soon as they arrive to the Emergency Department.                 
What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off?
I enjoy spending time with my mother. Her stroke diagnoses, strangely enough, has strengthened our relationship. Also, my other life is shared with my 3 (three) rescue dogs: Lexi, Coco, and Rio who are great bed alarms and always let me know when my mom is ambulatory.      
Can you please share about the work you have been doing so far to raise awareness about stroke?
I am very active with Community Awareness for Stroke. I take part in Community events at least 6 months / year. This includes but is not limited to churches, sporting events, grocery stores, sports arenas, schools, and hospitals. I take part in orienting new clinical team members about stroke on a monthly basis. In fact, I keep FAST cards in my car….always ready to pass them out to anyone I meet. I’m a firm believer that children should be educated on FAST…it’s sometimes the child who dials 911. I encourage patients and families to attend our monthly Stroke Support Group sessions. 

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Join Us for Wear Red Day at the Capitol!

You're invited to join us at the Capitol on Friday, February 19th, as we recognize National Wear Red Day and the fight against the number one killer of women - heart disease, by advocating for heart healthy and stroke smart policies. 

What: Advocating for Heart at the Capitol
When: Friday, February 19th, 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Where: House Committee Room #112, The Colorado Capitol
Why: To recognize National Wear Red Day and support the American Heart Association’s legislative agenda.

Please RSVP by 2/16 to

Our Advocating for Heart event will include: an advocacy training, issue overview on our top legislative priorities, visits with legislators, and breakfast.

We hope you will join us in Denver on February 19th as we advocate for a healthier Colorado. Please click to here to invite your elected officials to join us as we recognize National Wear Red Day!

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