American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Meet other likeminded advocates
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Nancy Birnbaum

I recently met You're the Cure advocate Nancy Birnbaum, a registered nurse who resides in College Station, Texas at the Advocating for Heart event at the Capitol. I loved the passion and enthusiasm she showed for the AHA mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. I chatted with Nancy to learn more about her and why she Advocates for Heart. 

Here's what she had to say:

I do what I can with the time that I have. What I love about the American Heart Association is that there are a lot of avenues to finding your fit. I started volunteering with the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Luncheon in College Station and found it especially easy and convenient to respond to action alerts. I like how easy it is to personalize the letter to the lawmaker and I make sure to include a comment as a nurse and a mother. As a mother of 4 grown daughters and grandmother of 9 children, I am passionate about fighting childhood obesity and keep school nutrition standards strong and healthy! I'm a proponent of healthy living so I wanted to get more involved with AHA's advocacy efforts. I decided to take a trip to Austin to participate in Advocating for Heart. Everyone I met was friendly and made it easy to visit with lawmakers and staff. 

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Look What You Did!

Your SouthWest Affiliate Advocacy team is kicking off the new fiscal year by recognizing the tremendous advocacy successes that we couldn’t have achieved without YOU this past legislative session. While we might be six states, we are one affiliate, with one mission - to fight heart disease and stroke. Here’s a look at what you did and every reason why we are celebrating with you.

Arkansas – We worked with partners to successfully refund the Private Option, Arkansas’ innovative approach to expanding access to healthcare to hundreds of thousands of residents. This will continue to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease through increased access to preventative care, and save more lives.

Colorado – House Bill 1281, will ensure that newborns across Colorado will be screened for critical congenital heart defects before leaving the hospital, saving the lives of babies across our state.

New Mexico – Stroke patients will benefit from a more coordinated system of care when utilizing emergency services. Senate Bill 81 ensures that EMS stroke care plans will be developed by regional authorities, reducing disability and saving lives.

Oklahoma – Stroke patients will now receive more timely and a better quality of care when being transported to one of the state recognized stroke centers.

Texas – New funds in the state’s budget will expand a program that helps us identify where opportunities exist to improve heart attack and stroke care in the state.

Wyoming – Passage of Senate File 88, will improve the care that stroke patients receive through the coordination of timely and quality care by regional EMS authorities.

We hope you are as proud as we are of these new laws, as well as how they further the mission of the American Heart Association. Your involvement is critical, and we need you to continue this work. You are saving lives with every event you attend, phone call you make and every action alert you send. Keep it up!

PS. We have some new faces on our growing Advocacy Team. We can’t wait to introduce you to them in upcoming action alerts and emails. 

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Heart Healthy Summer Treat: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve

 If you’re like me and have a huge sweet tooth, then you know that summer means ice cream season! On a hot summer day there is nothing better than cooling off with a delicious helping of this frozen treat. 

Unfortunately, ice cream is not necessarily the healthiest option in the world, but luckily there is a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet cravings with this simple and delicious take on a summer staple! This recipe is my absolute favorite and I like it better than any ice cream out there!


-1 frozen banana

-1 tablespoon of peanut butter

-2 tablespoons of chocolate chips

-1 tablespoon of almond milk

Place all 4 ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Voila! Chocolate peanut butter banana soft serve!

If you’re not a fan of peanut butter or chocolate, simply remove the ingredients from the recipe. I promise it’ll be just as good.  This is my go-to dessert in the summer, and I know as soon as you try this tasty treat, it will be yours too!

***This post is written by Advocacy Intern Taylor Fischer.

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Advocates Turn the Hill Red!

Over 380 advocates met in Washington, DC for You're the Cure on the Hill to step up for heart health. Our group of dedicated advocates met with 293 legislative offices throughout the day to advocate for increased research funding and healthy school meals. Advocates mingled with YTC networkers from throughout the nation and participated in an all day advocacy training and Heroes Luncheon. 

We know that as constituents, you truly make difference when you share your story and encourage our federal lawmakers to take action on critical health priorities. You drive our mission forward in building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. 

Check out a recap video of You're the Cure on the Hill 2015! 

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Lifesaving Legislation Becomes Law

Governor John Hickenlooper recently signed into law life-saving legislation, House Bill 1281, which will ensure that newborns receive a simple, quick, and non-invasive screening to detect critical ongenital heart defects before leaving the hospital. 

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect in the U.S. and the leading cause of infant death from birth defects. Early detection is key, and through pulse oximetry screening we can catch life threatening heart conditions in babies before they go home from the hospital.


Thanks to your advocacy efforts and by lending your voice, we now have expanded lifesaving screenings for our tiniest hearts!  We could not have done this without you and appreciate your continued support.

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Announcing Leading Colorado Advocates!

We would like to recognize our Aces, Champion, and Hero advocates for their continued dedication in the fight against heart disease and stroke! Your time, energy, and passion has made all the difference in advancing our mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The below advocates have taken action by responding to action alerts, visiting legislative offices, participating in advocacy trainings, and signing petition cards, just to name a few.

You can find your current ranking on the Community website under your profile. Check out our menu of activities here and see exactly how you can earn more points.

Kristin Adcock
Larry Adler
Jordan Ambron
Andrea Anderson
Bethany Arnold
Jodi Aumiller
Andrea Autobee- Trujillo
Linda Azzi
Sharon Baker
Emily Ballinger
Jeri Barajas
Jenna Baro
Sonja Baro
Robert Basker
Meghan Baslatt
Mary Bateman
Whitney Bell Haggard
Whitney Bell-Haggard
Aryn Benton
Kim Bimestefer
Michael Bireley
Katerina Birge
Kristilen Blackard
Julie Blakie
Robert Blaustein
G. Bommelaere
Bob Bowman
Jeb Burchenal
Amber Burkhart
Mike Butler
Elizabeth Cabell
Megan Calvert
Natalie Cartledge
Kerri Cechovic
Rakesh Chandranatha
Alexander Chapman
Kathryn Clark
Beth Clark
Tammy Coffman
Linda Cook
Craig Cook
Denise Cordova
Harry Corsover
Dee Daniels
Stephen Daniels
Catie Davis
Jay Denning
Perri Dombroski
Linda Drescher
Holly Durand
Sarah Flanagan
Bryan Fleming
Danielle Fontana
Sheri Foote
Nicole Frazier
LeeAnn French
James Fullerton
Jennifer Gamble
Rob Gamble
Gina Gardner
Betsy Gensler
Suze Gingery
Jenny Glennan
David Goff
Dee Gregory
Silvia Gutierrez
Silvia Gutierrez-Raghunath
Erin Hackett
Teresa Hailey
Courtney Hammock
John Harney
Maureen Harney
Rekisha Harris
Renee Hauerwas
Lindsay Hayden
Lori Hayden
julie Hill
Jim Holder
Trisha Hood
Hannah Hoogenboom
Kelley Horton
Athena Huff-Sandstrom
Robert Itiu
Beverly Jacoby
Sandi Jasper
Valerie Kanelopoulos
Amy Kappel
Sue Kardon
Katherine Kautz
Dena Keilman
Robert Kinder
Julie Knowles
Tricia Kob
Michael Kolb
Melissa Komadina
LisaJo Laptad
Karen Larsen
Ali Larson
Michelle Lathrop
Latrice Lee
Trisha Lee
Carrie Lehtonen
Traci Lella
Lee L'Enfant
Scott Lenn
Lindsay Lewis
Leslie Liedtke
Celeste Linhard
Kay Lowe
Tom Lucero
Joe Magouth
Pat Maley
Krishna Mallela
Evan Manning
Alexandra Mark
Kimberly Marshall
Epi Mazzei
Ann McCollough
Joe McCormack
Ashley McCurrach
Trisha McDaid-O'Neill
Janeen McDonald
Jaclyn McDonald
Carleen McGuffey
James McGuffey
Rodolfo Medina Valdez
Amy Miller
Linda Mitchell
Cynthia Molk
Doug Moore
Jodi Moreno
Madeline Morris
Jason Nardell
Maribel Navano
Amanda Nenaber
Carrie Nolan
Ashley Nordberg
Cheryl Northup
Erica Oakley-Courage
Tokundo Olowda
Mary Ann Orr
Cheryl Parrish
Annette Pedersen
s peirce
Jacque Penfold
Blair Pesses
Blair Pesses
Debbie Pointer
Mattye Polland-Love
Janeene Porcher
Huntington Potter
Bethany Pray
Lorna Prutzman
Brittany Pyle
Chad Raabe
Betsy Ray
Megan Reeder-Holman
Leslie Reindollar
Daphine Rice-Arlen
Amy Risley
Lynn Robinson
Yadira Rojas
Christopher Roller
Laura Saenez
Laura Saenz
Christina Saetta
Rachel Scarlata
Deo Schlupp
Lori Schreiber
Wendy Schroeder
Amelia Shafer
Luke Sheffield
Tawnya Silloway
Lynn Smith
DJ Smith
EN Smith
Melissa Snyder
Michael Spitzer
Michael Stein
Sharon Stokes
Jana Strangfeld
Paul Stringer
Carolyn Sundahl
Dara Tallmadge
Mary Tappe
Sarah Tiers
Sara Tobin
Sara Tobin
Leo Tokar
Leroy Trujillo
Renee Verspoor
Sundae Vialajaro
Grace Walsh
Gretchen Weinhurst
Steve West
Julie Wham
Gretchen Whitehurst
Grant Wicklund
Kirk Williams
Courtney Wilson
Terri Winter
Martin Wolf
Kristy Wolter-Warmerdam
Lana Wood-Brown
Doug Younger
Peggy Younger

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Lobby Day MVPs in the Spotlight

There were SO many amazing stories surrounding this year’s Hill Day that it was hard to narrow down our annual lobby day award winners. Not a bad problem to have! Please join us in congratulating these You’re the Cure MVPs, and then learn more about their stories in this video.


  • Science Advocate of the year – Dr. David Yu-Yiao Huang: Dr. Huang has been involved with AHA advocacy since 2003. From submitting expert written testimony and attending in-district meetings, to speaking before lawmakers, his passion for policy and his belief in the positive change policy can achieve has contributed significantly to big wins in North Carolina.
  • Volunteer Advocate of the Year – Theresa Conejo: Theresa has been one of the key proponents of Pennsylvania’s comprehensive smoke-free law. Last year, she signed a smoke-free op-ed which was picked up by major news outlets across the state. She also aggressively advocated for the proposed Clean Indoor Law. In addition, she recruits new You’re the Cure advocates at every opportunity. In fact, just recently, she signed up an additional 35 volunteers to join her in Pennsylvania’s smoke-free fight.
  • Survivor Advocate of the Year – Jim Bischoff: Jim’s own struggle with heart disease, as well as his experience with his son-in-law’s stroke, gives him a unique perspective to share during state and federal lobby days and meetings with lawmakers. His family history inspired him to provide leadership on stroke systems of care legislation. He also dedicates his time to tobacco issues, and attends in-district meetings with his lawmaker to discuss both of these important issues.
  • Youth Advocate of the Year – Cassidy Collins: Cassidy uses her story as a congenital heart survivor to illustrate the importance of AHA’s policy issues. At the age of 16, her resume is already quite impressive – she’s met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to advocate for tobacco control funding; she has been a top fundraiser for the Roanoke Heart Walk for two years; and she has applied to work as a youth advocate for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Watch a video highlighting the award winners below!

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How to Keep the Winning Game Going

You're the Cure on the Hill isn’t the only opportunity to connect with members of Congress! As their constituents, you have the power and the RIGHT to tell them at any time to step up to the plate on the heart and stroke issues you care about most.

Here are some tips for getting your lawmaker off the bench and into the game:


  • Follow them on social media and send them messages on issues you care about.
  • Sign up for their e-newsletters on their websites. This is a great way to learn about events where you can meet the lawmakers in person and stay informed.
  • Work with your local AHA advocacy staff to schedule an in-district meeting. Members of Congress come home throughout the year on recess breaks, so they use this time to meet with constituents back in the district. Take advantage of their time at home and schedule a meeting to discuss the heart and stroke issues that matter to you and your family.
  • Most importantly, take action year round. Watch your inbox for calls to action from You’re the Cure and continue engaging your lawmaker through emails, phone calls and tagging them in your social media posts.

We had a real impact this week, but we need to keep the momentum going. Let's keep reminding our members of Congress that they need to step up for heart health all year round!

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May is American Stroke Month

Anyone can have a stroke and everyone should be ready.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke and every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. That is why The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is inviting all Americans to become Stroke Heroes by learning and sharing the warning signs of stroke, F.A.ST. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Recognizing and responding to a stroke emergency immediately can lead to quick stroke treatment and may even save a life. Be ready!

Here is how you can participate in American Stroke Month

  • Share the F.A.S.T. acronym with your friends, family and loved ones throughout American Stroke Month.
  • Share our F.A.S.T. Quiz to test your stroke knowledge.
  • Download our free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. mobile app to prepare you in case of a stroke emergency and to have easy access.

Go to to learn more about how you can get involved.




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Pulse Ox Bill Passes Public Health Committee!

Recently the Colorado House Public Health and Human Services Committee voted in favor of  House Bill 1281, a measure ensuring Pulse Ox screenings for congenital heart defects in newborns. The Chair of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee, physicians, and mothers shared incredible personal stories about their children and the importance of passing this policy. Kayla Mumbey and Gretchen Whitehurst (pictured) shared touching stories with the committee. Click here to learn more about Pulse Ox laws from around the state:

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