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Wear Red Day in Colorado

You're the Cure advocates gathered at the Capitol in support of National Wear Red Day. The morning began with advocates meeting with legislators about our top public policy priorities. American Heart Association advocacy staff then conducted an advocacy training in which advocates heard from State Advocacy Committee Member Sherri Foote on why she became involved with our efforts over the years. Afterward, You're the Cure advocates the had the opportunity to go to the House of Representatives and Senate chambers to receive a resolution declaring February 6th as National Wear Red day throughout the state!

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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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Recognizing You're the Cure Champions and Heroes

We would like to thank our most active You’re the Cure advocates.  Please view members that have reached the Champion or Hero rank from across the SouthWest Affiliate. 

Did you know that by being an active You’re the Cure member you get points for all the different actions you take?  Points accumulate and you can achieve different “ranks”.  If you are logged in right now you can look at the top of the page to view your points and current rank. 

Here are Champions and Heroes from across the SouthWest Affiliate. (Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming)

Champions:
Kristin A. (Lakewood, CO)
Mel A. (Dallas, TX)
Dr. Selina A. (Pearland, TX)
Bethany A. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Linda A. (Englewood, CO)
Amy B. (Norman, OK)
Kristen B. (Spencer, OK)
Linda A. (Englewood, CO)
Amy B. (Norman, OK)
Kristen B. (Spencer, OK)
Sharon B. (Palmer Lake, CO)
Mary Ann B. (Edmond, CO)
T. Bell (Austin, TX)
Aryn B. (Colorado)
Eric B. (Houston, TX)
Kevin B. (Dallas, TX)
Nancy B. (College Station, TX)
Kristen B. (Fort Worth, TX)
Sarah B. (Fort Worth, TX)
Beth B.   (Pottsboro, TX)
Cheryl B. (Austin, TX)
Cherie B. (Missouri City, TX)
Tim B. (Wylie, TX)
Pat B. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Aabha B. (Houston, TX)
Karen B.  (Fairview, TX)
Jeb B. (Golden, CO)
Darry C.  (Tahlequah, OK)
David C.  (El Paso, TX)
Rakesh C. (Golden, CO)
Heather C. (TX)
Kathryn C. (Denver, CO)
Shannon C. (Edmond, OK)
Darlene C. (Dallas, TX)
William C. (Houston, TX)
Michael  C. (Lubbock, TX)
Harvey C. (Midwest City, OK)
Kathleen C. (Wylie, TX)
Gloria C.  (Garland, TX)
Denise C. (CO)
Michelle C. (Round Rock, TX)
Shannon C. (Austin, TX)
Chris C.   (San Antonio, TX)
Anne D.  (Austin, TX)
Anne D.  (TX)
Carroll D. (Houston, TX)
Ashley Davis. (The Woodlands, TX)
Larissa D. (Austin, TX)
Rodney D. (Sugar Land, TX)
B. D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Brooke D. (Frisco, TX)
Natasha D. (Dallas, TX)
Sylvia D.  (Plano, TX)
Holly D.  (Westminster, CO)
Carol D.  (Little Rock, AR)
Brian E.  (Dallas, TX)
Michael  E. (Casper, WY)
I. E. (Tularosa, NM)
Diana E. (Austin, TX)
Ruthie E. (Harlingen, TX)
Suzy F. (Cave Springs, AR)
Indira F. (Houston, TX)
Johnny F. (Jackson, WY)
Sarah F.  (CO)
Brandy F. (Tulsa, OK)
Jo Marie F. (Houston, TX)
Kerrie F. (Oklahoma City, OK)
James F. (Denver, CO)
Gina G. (Thornton, CO)
Rod G. (Humble, TX)
Patricia G. (Rio Rancho, NM)
Suze G.  (Ridgway, CO)
Sheryl G. (Galveston, TX)
Dee G. (Golden, CO)
Rhonda G. (Heber Springs, AR)
Silvia G.  (CO)
Erin H. (Denver, CO)
Teresa H. (Denver, CO)
Bennett H.  (Austin, TX)
Penny H. (North Richland Hills, TX)
Lindsey H. (Tulsa, OK)
Lisa H. (Sachse, TX)
Renee H. (CO)
Pamela H. (Tulsa, OK)
Cindy H. (Fayetteville, AR)
Athena H. (Arvada, CO)
Ann J. (Laramie, WY)
Beverly J. (CO)
Laura J.  (Mesquite, TX)
Carolyn J. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Shelly J. Edmond (OK)
Gia K. (Dallas, TX)
Racheal  K. (Austin, TX)
Valerie K. (Littleton, CO)
Katherine K. (Northglenn, CO)
Diane K. (NM)
Dena K.  (Thornton, CO)
Nancy K.  (Orange, TX)
Robert K. (Lone Tree, CO)
James K.  (Fort Worth, TX)
James K.  (Corpus Christi, TX)
Ashley K. (Little Rock, AR)
Lee L. (Denver, CO)
Mercedes L. (Claremore , OK)
Amy L. (Austin, TX)
Michelle L. (CO)
Britni L. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Carrie L.  (Broomfield, CO)
Traci L.  (CO)
Ben L. (Casper, WY)
Lindsay L. (Denver, CO)
Lindsay L. (McKinney, TX)
Mary L. (Austin, TX)
Karina L.  (Oklahoma City, OK)
Kay L. (Thornton, CO)
Wonder L. (Little Rock, AR)
Krishna M. (Aurora, CO)
Kimberly M. (Aurora, CO)
Monica M. (Tulsa, OK)
Jose M.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Debra M. (Rockwall, TX)
Lea M. (Edmond, OK)
Linda M.  (Arlington, TX)
Wolford M. (Dallas, TX)
James M. (Dallas, TX)
Mark M.  (Norman, OK)
CARYL M. (Carrollton, TX)
Vince M. (Austin, TX)
William M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Patrick M. (Tulsa, OK)
Diana M. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Jim M. (Albuquerque, NM)
Lisa N. (McKinney, TX)
Scott N.  (Casper, WY)
Amanda N. (CO)
Patricia N. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Brion O. (Manor, TX)
Gisella O. (McKinney, TX)
Cindy O.  (Cheyenne, WY)
Brandy P. (Forney, TX)
Mary P.  (Lawton, OK)
Annette P. (CO)
Taylor P.  (NM)
Guadalupe P. (Dallas, TX)
Blair P. (Denver, CO)
April P. (Austin, TX)
Gina P. (Little Rock, AR)
Francine P. (San Antonio, TX)
Debbie P. (Denver, CO)
Janeene P. (Golden, CO)
Marcella P. (Irving, TX)
Pamm P. (Bentonville, AR)
Mary P.  (Houston, TX)
James P.  (Tulsa, OK)
Lorna P. (CO)
Virginia R. (Mesquite, TX)
Rene R.  (Houston, TX)
Kendall R. (Little Rock, AR)
Georgina R. (Poteau, OK)
Colleen R. (Cheyenne, WY)
Debra R. (Plano, TX)
James R. (Dallas, TX)
Chris R.  (Austin, TX)
Laura S. (Pueblo, CO)
Christina S. (CO)
Fred S. (Norman, OK)
Lori S. (Thornton, CO)
Wendy S. (Denver, CO)
Luke S. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Luke S. (Kyle, TX)
Jenny S. (Rogers, AR)
Jim S.  (Houston, TX)
Joseph S. (Lewisville, TX)
Tawnya S. (Pueblo, CO)
Marchelle S.  (Dallas, TX)
Sandy S. (Little Rock, AR)
Christa S. (San Antonio, TX)
Jennifer  S. (Austin, TX)
Lynn S. (Denver , CO)
Natalie S. (Austin, TX)
Felicia S. (Round Rock, TX)
Scott S. (Flower Mound, TX)
Jessica S. (Houston, TX)
Amy S. (Jenks, OK)
Carol S.  (Edmond, OK)
Jan S. (Panama, OK)
Sherri S. (El Reno, OK)
Rebecca S. (Pueblo, CO)
Connie S. (Jonesboro, AR)
Robyn S. (Edmond, OK)
Nicole S.  (Houston, TX)
Sofie T. (Plano, TX)
Dara T.  (Wheat Ridge, CO)
Robert T. (NM)
Sarah T. (Crestone, CO)
Dianne T. (Houston, TX)
Adam T. (Lubbock, TX)
Sara T. (Denver, CO)
Amanda T. (Dallas, TX)
Montra V. (Garland, TX)
Kelley V. (Red Oak, TX)
Renee V. (Denver, CO)
James W. (The Woodlands, TX)
Dusty W. (El Paso, TX)
Kelly W.  (Bigelow, AR)
Casie W. (Austin, TX)
Teresa W. (Noble, OK)
Gretchen W. (Highlands Ranch, CO)
Janice W. (Marion, AR)
Vickie W. (AR)
Jacqueline W. (Austin, TX)
Kristy W. (Littleton, CO)
Tracy W. (Cedar Park, TX)
Robert W. (Austin, TX)

Heroes:
Kenya A. (Albuquerque, NM)
Larry A. (Superior, CO)
Angela A. (The Colony, TX)
Hope A. (Austin, TX)
Jim A. (Garland, TX)
Lisa A. (Austin, TX)
Shezeen A. (Fort Worth, TX)
Naomi A. (Austin, TX)
Jaime A. (Dallas, TX)
Jodi A. (Pueblo, CO)
Julie A. (Oklahoma)
Julie A. (Midwest City, OK)
Terri B. (Yukon, OK)
Judith B. (Bella Vista, AR)
Matthew B. (Plano, TX)
Jeri B. (Denver, CO)
Mary B. (Denver CO)
Amber J’Nae B. (Austin, TX)
Whitney B. (Denver, CO)
Kelsey B. (Austin, TX)
Mary B.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Alan B. (Sandia Park, NM)
Robert B. (Lafayette, CO)
Ashley B. (Cedar Hill, TX)
G. B. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Laura B. (San Antonio, TX)
Brian B. (Austin, TX)
Fran B. (Placitas, NM)
Kristine B. (Dallas, TX)
Terri W. (Austin, TX)
Brooke B. (Austin, TX)
Megan C. (Denver, CO)
Linda C. (Boulder, CO)
Harry C. (Englewood, CO)
Charmagne C. (Austin, TX)
Denni C.  (Grand Prairie, TX)
Marilyn D. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Jeanell D. (TX)
Steve D.  (Mountain Home, AR)
Courtney D. (Austin, TX)
Amy D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Michael D. (Austin, TX)
Perri D. (Lakewood, CO)
Linda D. (Golden, CO)
Claire D. (Albuquerque, NM)
Douglas  D. (Dallas, TX)
Joyce E.  (Irving, TX)
Midge E. (Corpus Christi, TX)
Bryan F. (Pueblo, CO)
Sheri F. (Arvada, CO)
Craig F. (Cedar Park, TX)
John G. (Round Rock, TX)
David G.  (Denver, CO)
Deanna G. (Allen, TX)
Nancy G. (Glenpool, OK)
Tamara G. (Fairview, TX)
Allison G. (Coppell, TX)
Barbara  H. (Skiatook, OK)
Karin H.  (Flower Mound, TX)
Matthew H.  (Lubbock, TX)
Garrett H. (Webster, TX)
Tim H. (Irving, TX)
Lindsay H. (Denver, CO)
Lori H. (Westminster, CO)
Julie H. (Little Rock, AR)
Melanie H. (Round Rock, TX)
Debbie H. (Edmond, OK)
Linda H. (Saginaw, TX)
Sam H. (Fort Worth, TX)
Sue K. (Denver, CO)
Enola K.  (Albuquerque, NM)
Connie K. (Arlington, TX)
Amit K. (Coppell, TX)
Julie K. (Aurora, CO)
Tricia K.  (Fort Collins, CO)
Melissa K. (Pueblo, CO)
Brant K.  (Houston, TX)
Barbara K. (Jacksonville, AR)
Robyn L.  (Dallas, TX)
LisaJo L.  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Suzanne L. (Albuquerque, NM)
Scott L. (Pueblo, CO)
Suzanne L. (San Antonio, TX)
Kathryn  L.  (Arlington, TX)
Petra L. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Evan M. (Denver, CO)
Jimmy M. (Chimayo, NM)
Joshua M. (Albuquerque, NM)
Ashley M. (Denver, CO)
Donna M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
Tammy M. (Fort Worth, TX)
Rosalinda M. (Austin, TX)
Laura M. (Garland, TX)
Jim M.  (NM)
Susan M. (Rockwall, TX)
Doug M. (Pueblo, CO)
Salomi M. (Irving, TX)
John M.  (Austin, TX)
Thomas  N. (Alamo, TX)
Erica O.  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Mary Ann O.  (Greenwood Village, CO)
Pete O. (El Paso, TX)
Christina O. (Pflugerville , TX)
Susan P.  (Sunrise Beach, TX)
Jacque P. (Loveland, CO)
Diana R.  (Irving, TX)
Leslie R. (Pueblo, CO)
Samantha R. (Allen, TX)
Christopher R. (Lakewood, CO)
Linda R.  (Houston, TX)
Joel R. (Brenham, TX)
Elizabeth R. (Austin, TX)
Roger S. (Argyle, TX)
Rachel S. (Divide, CO)
Katie S. (Little Rock, AR)
Mark S. (Plano, TX)
Debra S. (Rockwall, TX)
Jennifer S. (Oklahoma City, OK)
Joshua S. (McKinney, TX)
Greg S. (Austin, TX)
Christina S. (Edmond, OK)
Pamela S. (Pflugerville, TX)
Nora S. (San Antonio, TX)
Alexis S. (North Little Rock, AR)
Arsheill S. (Austin, TX)
Laura S.  (Plano, TX)
Tracey S. (Terrell, TX)
Lisa S. (Houston, TX)
Mary T. (Castle Rock, CO)
Thomas T. (Lubbock, TX)
Justin T. (Tulsa, OK)
Sara T. (Denver, CO)
Elizabeth T. (Oklahoma City, OK)

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2015: We're ready. Are you?

The gavel is down and the 2015 Legislative Session has officially started. We are excited and eager to work with our state legislators on policies that will help make Colorado healthier and safer.

Please take a moment to send an email to  your legislators, welcoming them to the State Capitol.  


A few of the issues that we are working on are:

 
• Boosting economic development while creating healthier communities by making it easier for small businesses, such as local corner stores, to make fresh, healthier food more available; and


• Increase funding for the Safe Routes to Schools program to provide for safer, healthier, and more active communities across Colorado; and


• Ensuring all birthing facilities perform a simple pulse-oximetry screening on newborns to test for critical congenital heart defects. We know this can be very effective at detecting critical, life-threatening congenital heart defects, and newborn lives could potentially be saved by earlier detection and treatment.

 
Click here to let legislators know how the decisions they make will impact the health of their constituents.

Over the next several months you will receive emails providing updates on the progress of these issues, as well as giving you the opportunity to take action via email, phone calls, and visits to legislator offices. Just know that your voice is incredibly important to the work that the American Heart Association does at our state Capitol.


We know that effective grassroots campaigns are vital to making positive changes to health policy in the state of Colorado. We can’t do this without you!

You’re the Cure. 

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

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Let's Advocate for Heart at the Capitol!

Join us at our state Capitol on Friday, February 6th, 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 6th, 8:00 am-9:30 am
Where: The Colorado Capitol, located at 200 East Colfax Avenue in Denver, CO 80203
Why: To recognize National Wear Red Day and support the American Heart Association’s legislative agenda.

Please reply to this email or contact Julie.Knowles@heart.org to RSVP.

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

We hope you will join us in Denver on February 6th as we fight for a healthier Colorado!


Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

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Suzanne Villarreal-Lozano's Advocacy Journey

Throughout my 31 years of volunteering for the American Heart Association I have worn many hats.  But I can safely say some of my most memorable moments have come as an advocacy volunteer fighting for heart and stroke legislation.  We live in a democracy and that means we get to shape the community that we live in.  In many cases we get the society that we demand which is a tremendous responsibility. 
 
For myself, I want to live in world with better health outcomes for everyone and a reduction in risks associated with heart disease and stroke.  I realized one way to build that world was through the advocacy efforts of the American Heart Association. My passion for this type of volunteer work comes from the fact I have been a Registered Nurse and healthcare administrator for over 33 years and I have cared for many patients with a variety of cardiovascular health issues. I have seen the progress that we have made in the last 33 years and the work that still needs to be done.   
 
There’s just something about advocacy that gets in your blood. I think it has to do with the ups and downs of the legislative process and fulfilling your civic duty to participate in the process. I always make a point of telling legislators, that they have as much power as a good physician when they pass good legislation that helps and improves the lives of their constituents. A thrill also comes from the fact that you can effect hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives with the passage of one bill and one governor’s signature. 
 
I mentioned some memorable moments before and I’d like to list just a few of them now:
 
•         In 2010 I Chaired the Smoke-Free San Antonio Coalition which successfully passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance.  This came after nearly a decade long fight that included a weak ordinance being passed and reluctance on the part of the San Antonio City Council.  But we never gave up and finally prevailed  with a smoke-free victory in 2010.
 
•         In 2011 I joined the AHA’s State Advocacy Committee in Texas and have been a frequent visitor to the Texas Capitol.  Since that time we have successfully passed legislation related to CPR training in schools, Pulse-Ox testing for newborns, and critical public funding for heart attack and stroke systems of care.    
 
•         This year I have happily accepted the role of Chairing the State Advocacy Committee and look forward to even greater advocacy successes.  
 
I have been fortunate to interact with a number of elected officials during this time including Julian Castro who was Mayor of San Antonio in 2010.  He went on to give the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and now serves in the Presidential Cabinet as HUD Secretary.  Two of the City Council members that voted YES are now serving in the Texas House of Representatives and are some of the AHA’s biggest supporters.  A number of the State Representatives I have met with are now serving higher office in the Texas Senate and U.S. Congress.
 
I would encourage all advocates to build relationships with their elected officials, especially at the local level.  You might be surprised about how easy  it is to gain access and how willing your lawmakers are to hear from you.  Your local officials are also the future statewide and federal lawmakers who will make public policy decisions for decades to come.  I have found that when we reach a lawmaker and truly connect with them with our personal stories, we have champions for life.  
 
If you haven’t already, I invite you to join You’re the Cure (www.yourethecure.org) and begin you journey of Advocating for Heart. 

 

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NEHA AGGARWAL

Neha Aggarwal, You’re the Cure Advocate

One day while he was walking through the park, Neha Aggarwal’s maternal grandfather suddenly fell to the ground—he had unexpectedly suffered a stroke. Before the stroke, her grandfather had been very active mentally, physically, socially, and professionally. Although the stroke dramatically changed every aspect of his life, he continued to step up to the challenges of life and showed great strength and positivity.  He passed away 20 months later, and Neha feels she was blessed to have had the chance to know and love him.

But her family’s history of stroke and heart disease doesn’t end there.

  • Her paternal grandfather also passed away from a stroke, before she was even born.
  • Her father’s older brother passed away from a heart attack.
  • Her father, a cardiologist, has diabetes and takes medication to control high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Neha’s family history and life experiences have prompted her to aim for a heart healthy lifestyle.  She strives to make exercise and a heart healthy diet a part of her daily life.

Involvement in You’re the Cure:

Neha first became interested in volunteering with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) grassroots network, You’re the Cure, in 2012 when she heard about AHA’s Lawyers Have Heart run in Washington, DC. This event really called out to her, as she is not only a lawyer but one who specializes in health policy. Lawyers Have Heart seemed as if it were created for her, aligning with both her passion for law and for health. Volunteering at this event in 2012 kicked off her involvement with You’re the Cure and she has been an active advocate ever since.  

What She Does:

Since Neha became a You’re the Cure advocate in 2012, she has volunteered at a number of events in Washington, DC, including Heart Walk, Lawyers Have Heart, and Hearts Delight. She actively recruits others for You’re the Cure. Her passion for the mission of AHA is contagious and inspires others to join in this important work. As Neha became more deeply involved with AHA events, she wanted to do more.

She was energized when she discovered the opportunity to work more proactively with You’re the Cure, advocating directly to her lawmakers for policy change. This exciting world of policy change opened the door for her to more fully utilize her education, passion, and training in volunteer advocacy work.  Neha initiated regular communication with AHA staff to coordinate her efforts, and her work on You’re the Cure’s advocacy campaigns has been packed with meaningful action. She has had frequent contact with DC Councilmembers, via phone calls and emails, urging them to support important legislation. Recently, she also submitted a letter to the editor to encourage readers to follow her call to action and appeal to DC Council.

What she finds most satisfying about working with You’re the Cure is the strong impact that she can have at the macro level. “Getting legislation passed can have such far-reaching effects! It is exciting to do things that have a large-scale impact. I feel like I am making a difference.”

 Why does Neha do this?  She says, “Improving Lives is Why”

Have you volunteered for the AHA like Neha? Send us photos of yourself in action to advocacydc@heart.org. We will use as many as we can to create a new Facebook cover photo!

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You're the Cure Year End Successes, Let's Celebrate!
It was another banner year for You’re the Cure advocates championing heart and stroke policy change across the country. Year end is a time to look back at what we achieved in states, think ahead to the work still to do, and celebrate the power of volunteers.
 
What did we accomplish last year?
 
 
Below are just three of many victories that made 2014 so successful.  

 

  • 35 states now have laws protecting our littlest hearts. Pulse oximetry, a simple detection screening for heart defects gives newborns a chance to survive thanks to early detection.
  • We reached a major milestone in ensuring all students learn CPR before graduating from high school. Now more than 1 million students, in 20 states, will graduate each year with this lifesaving skill.
  • 6 states increased funding for heart disease and stroke prevention programs.

 

Want to see more accomplishments? Check out the video below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are just a few highlights and for the full story be sure to check out the state by state wrap-up online. We couldn’t achieve these great accomplishments without the power of YOU our advocates. Your work to educate lawmakers, recruit family and friends, and share your story and expertise are what makes change happen. So from your AHA staff partners a big, Thank You!
 
P.S. – You can help inspire others to join the movement by sharing our accomplishments highlight video.

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This Holiday Season, Shop Heart!
It's that time of year again, when we’re all doing our last minute holiday shopping. This year consider giving a gift from the heart. Shop Heart and choose from an assortment of items like cookbooks, apparel, and accessories. You can share the message of heart health when you give an American Heart Association t-shirt, jacket, lapel pin, or tie. Along with all of these great gift ideas, we also have many of our educational materials available, so you can share important heart and stroke prevention advice with friends and family. Best of all when you Shop Heart the money you spend goes directly towards supporting the mission of the American Heart Association!
Also, don't forget to share the Shop Heart site with your own networks, we think you'll find some great gifts for friends and family. Happy Holidays!

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Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving is about enjoying time with our family and celebrating with traditional foods we know and love. However, the holiday can impact the time we usually reserve for our healthy routines and involve meals that are not exactly made to be heart-healthy!

To keep your diet and health in check over the Thanksgiving holiday, try these ideas below, including ways to minimize stress and smart substitutions for your holiday meals.

Try healthy substitutes

We love family recipes, and these simple tricks make them better for you and your family’s heart health (without totally changing the taste).

Baking

  • Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce.
  • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
  • Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk.
  • Instead of using only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.

Cooking

  • Use vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of butter (even in your mashed potatoes).
  • Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt.
  • Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white.
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free/skim milk.

Prepare vegetables, eat a balanced meal

Now that you’ve prepared some of your Thanksgiving meal with healthy substitutes, prepare yourself a balanced plate of all your favorite holiday foods, starting with a salad and vegetables. Eating your veggies will ensure you get the nutrients you need and will help fill you up so you don’t overload on the foods your body needs less of, such as rolls, stuffing and pie.

Increase physical activity

Increase your physical activity over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to combat the extra calories and additional stress. Go for a family walk after each meal or gathering. Play catch with your kids. Take just 40 minutes for yourself and go to the gym to release endorphins your body needs to stay healthy.

Keep stress to a minimum

Taking care of family, cooking, cleaning—Thanksgiving can involve a lot of activities that not only keep you busy, but can also increase your level of stress. Keep stress to a minimum with stress management techniques. These can include:

  • Planning ahead to help you with time management
  • Focusing on one thing at a time
  • Taking time to relax

Get enough sleep

Part of living a heart-healthy lifestyle means getting enough sleep. Why? Because your quality of sleep can impact your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night. Over the holiday, get into bed early to give yourself enough time to wind down after your day and to fall asleep faster and more soundly. Or try these tips to improve your sleep.

**This article was featured on www.GoRedForWomen.org. Learn more ways to live healthy on Go Red For Women.

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