American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
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Who Do You Know?

With so many issues before our lawmakers, it often takes someone with a personal connection to really ensure our voice is heard. That's where YOU can really make the difference! Please take a moment to take our survey and tell us what you think (and who you know!).  

Thank you for being a You’re the Cure Advocate and standing up for a heart-healthy future for yourself and your loved ones!

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Help secure funding for this life-saving AED program today!

This is a critical time in Congress. Lawmakers are deciding on their funding priorities and the next round of budget negotiations are beginning. Even in this difficult economy, there are several federally-funded programs that are vital to the heart community, and we need to let our lawmakers know they must be a priority.

One such program helps buy and place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in rural communities. The program also trains first responders and others in the community to use and operate these devices. The Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program ensures those who live in rural areas or small towns have access to the tools they need for the best chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, the program currently only has the resources to operate in 12 states.

Please contact your lawmaker today and ask them to prioritize funding to save lives from cardiac arrest!

People in every state should be given the best shot at surviving a cardiac arrest. Communities with aggressive AED placements have increased survival rates from about 11% to nearly 40%, which is an incredible improvement. But 38 states are still waiting for funds for this life-saving program.

Deadlines in Congress are looming, so please contact your elected officials TODAY!

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Save The Date For Delaware Advocacy Day!

The American Heart Association invites you, your family and friends to join us on Thursday, April 30, 2015 for Advocacy Day at Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware.  

Advocates from across the state will gather to meet with lawmakers to talk about the need to improve physical education, the deadly toll of tobacco, and other heart health priorities.  It’s important that we have advocates from as many legislative districts as possible.  Register Now to come make your voice heard!

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Advocate Spotlight: Ruth Caruthers

Ruth Caruthers West Virginia

It all started with a blog.

My son Corbin was in the hospital for heart surgery; he was only 9 days old for his first procedure. I had hours and hours to surf the internet, scouring sites for more information on his heart defects, and finding more and more parents just like me. Parents who had gone through the same journey and had words of wisdom and encouragement to share.

Some stories did not have happy endings. I came across one when I searched “pulse oximetry” that would change my life. It was a story of a mom whose daughter had died from undetected heart defects and had went on to pass a bill in her state that required a newborn pulse oximetry screening to help detect heart defects. I read her words, page after page, with tears running down my face. After I had digested all the information I could from her page, I looked up and said to myself “I can do that.”

Our dear little Peanut, Corbin would not survive his third heart surgery. His broken heart stopped on May 17th, 2011, just three months after he graced this world. It was just 8 months later when I, along with two other “heart moms,” with the help of the American Heart Association, introduced West Virginia’s first pulse ox bill. With the grace of God and thousands of supporters, the bill passed a very quick three months later! Heart defect screening is mandatory in WV as of January 1st, 2013.

You could say that I am helping to change the world, but I say that my son is. My son is saving lives every day through this bill. His story doesn’t end there! Every single day, I work towards spreading his legacy and educating other parents on the importance of pulse ox and how it can save your child’s life. Even though my son did not survive, he has impacted our world in a way that cannot be undone or forgotten. His legacy will continue on through each baby that is born every day in this state that is screened with pulse ox. Corbin’s Bill IS my son and he is changing the world.

Thecorbinstory.com

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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Advocate Spotlight: Theresa Conejo

Theresa Conejo Pennsylvania

My name is Theresa Conejo and I have been a You’re the Cure Advocate and AHA/ASA volunteer since 2007. While attending an American Heart/Stroke Association sponsored event at my workplace, I took the pledge and signed on. As a seasoned, Cardiovascular Nurse of thirty years, I see daily the devastating results of these diseases. Whether I am teaching a newly diagnosed patient with atrial fibrillation on the use of Coumadin, reviving a heart attack patient with CPR or assisting a stroke victim with his meals, I see and do it all.

My first Federal Lobby Day in 2007 focused on the Fit Kids Act, legislation that would ensure kids get adequate physical activity during the school day. This was, in my opinion, the beginning of the movement to address the childhood obesity crisis, an issue near and dear to my heart. It was exciting to meet such dedicated and powerful advocates and together we took our concerns to the Hill. Since 2007, I have attended five Federal Lobby Days and four PA Lobby days in addition to many in-district legislative visits, and am looking forward to the 2015 Lobby days ahead. Particularly important to me this year is working to get my state of Pennsylvania to be completely smoke free. Being involved in the passing of the original legislation back in 2008, I know PA needs to tighten the current law and my fellow advocates and I have been working hard to convince our legislators of this need. Through face-to-face visits with my State Representative to editorials and Op-Eds I have written, I'm hoping to create an increased awareness in my community for a tighter law without exclusions.

After two exciting terms on the National Advocacy Coordinating Committee, I am honored to be part of the Scientific Advocacy Coordinating Committee (SACC). In addition, I have volunteered myself to the American Stroke Association’s Minority Affairs Committee and serve as a board member at large for the Great Rivers Affiliate. It is my desire to experience the American Heart/Stroke Association through all of it’s many levels so I can become a more well-rounded, experienced advocate. Through my passion and commitment, I hope to inspire others to take action and help improve the health, well-being and quality of life in their community, state and nation.

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Meet the New Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December to serve as the next surgeon general of the United States. The surgeon general is America’s top public health official, and his responsibilities range from managing disease to promoting prevention and a healthy start for our kids.

At 37, Vivek Murthy is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to hold the post of Surgeon General.

Since this position was created in 1871, just 18 people have held the job. Dr. Murthy, the 19th, replaces an Acting Surgeon General who has filled the role since 2013. Dr. Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for nearly a year due to political issues, but in that time he received the endorsement of more than 100 public health groups, including the American Heart Association.

Dr. Murthy has both business and medical degrees from his studies at Harvard and Yale. He completed his residency at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he most recently served as an attending physician. He has created and led organizations to support comprehensive healthcare reform, to improve clinical trials so new drugs can be made available more quickly and safely, and to combat HIV/AIDS.

His resume is remarkable, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy to improve the health of all Americans.

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Advocate Spotlight: Tonii Rizzo

Tonii Rizzo Kentucky

In April 2006, Tonii Rizzo was the picture of health. An avid runner who exercised every day, he never expected to have a "widow maker" heart attack that would forever change his life. According to Tonii (pictured here with Senator Julie Denton), the good news is that he’s still "green side up," but that doesn’t come without some trade-offs, including blood thinners, regular visits to his cardiologist, ultrasounds and EKGs.

Fortunately, Tonii has been able to resume his active lifestyle of exercising, running a business and giving back to his community. "Giving back" includes serving on AHA’s Kentuckiana Board of Directors for the last 5 years in positions that include past Heart Ball Development Chair and current Board Chair. In addition, Tonii advocates for heart-healthy public policies at the local, state and federal levels at every opportunity. His actions have ranged from writing letters-to-the-editor to calling his lawmakers to meeting with them face-to-face on issues ranging from smoke-free indoor air to CPR training for Kentucky’s high school students.

According to Metro Director, Kathy Renbarger, "Tonii is a passionate advocate for the mission of the American Heart Association. He has been instrumental in raising awareness of heart disease and stroke in our community."

As Tonii says, "God allowed me to live that day so that I could help raise awareness about heart disease." Thank you, Tonii, for your tireless efforts to improve Kentucky's heart-health!

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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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