American Heart Association - You’re the Cure
WELCOME! PLEASE LOGIN OR SIGN UP

LoginLogin with Facebook

Remember me Forgot Password

Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
SIGN UP
Lori Valencia Greene

Lori Valencia Greene, Maryland

Lori Valencia Greene is a woman of many hats: mother, daughter, friend, student, and an advocate for change in her community. She was surprised at the young age of 47 to also find herself a stroke survivor!

Lori has always had a desire to make a difference. Because of this she volunteered in her native District of Columbia since she was a teenager.

Lori first became involved with advocacy work in 1985 when she took a job as a legislative assistant on the Hill where she worked for 10 years, including two stints as Legislative Director. She fell in love with the work and eventually took jobs lobbying for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Black Women's Health Project, and the American Psychological Society (APA). While working for the APA, Lori was an advocate for a bill that would eliminate race and ethnic health disparities. One of her proudest moments was seeing this bill turned into law. She says, “I like advocacy work because I feel like I am making a difference, particularly when I am advocate for people who can't advocate for themselves.”

Lori’s stroke experience brought her many challenges, but it also gave her a new drive for advocacy work. “After going through the whole process I realized that there is still a lot of work to be done. I had great care, but there were things that could have been improved and there is still a lot that isn't known about why people have strokes.” After her stroke, Lori stumbled on the American Heart Association web page where she happily signed up for advocacy volunteer work, and has been an active advocate for You're the Cure ever since. She is currently serving on an advisory committee for You’re the Cure.

Of all of the experiences that Lori has had, she says she is most gratified by her advocacy work. Lori’s advice to advocates is to have passion and patience. “Don't give up. Just don't give up. Its' easy to give up, but don't do it. The people you are advocating for need you.”

Are you passionate about advocacy? Tell us your story HERE.

Read More

Celebrating AHA Rockstars

 

On June 16th, the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Greater Washington Region (GWR) hosted its 4th annual ambassador recognition reception at the Bank of America building in Washington, DC. The event highlighted and recognized AHA’s most active and effective volunteers and advocates in the DC area during the past fiscal year. Over 50 ambassadors and advocates were honored for their outstanding contributions throughout the course of the fiscal year.

Troy Johnson, a reporter for NBC4 Washington and other DC media outlets emceed the ceremony along with GWR Executive Director Soula Antoniou.

The awardees were recognized for their devotion to AHA, for giving their time and energy to the mission, championing policy priorities to governments in DC, MD, and VA, and for helping to pass life-saving legislation by testifying at hearings and communicating with lawmakers. Awardees were also honored for sharing their stories at AHA events including Heart Walk, Stroke Awareness Day, and Lawyers Have Heart.

Special honors were given to the GWR’s “Mission Pioneers” - individuals who are not only top level ambassadors, but who have served on Mission and Advocacy committees and the DC Stroke Collaborative. These volunteers have given their time and extraordinary energy at countless events, fundraising and serving as media spokespeople.

Several You’re the Cure advocates were honored for their contributions to AHA’s policy campaigns in Washington, DC during the fiscal year, including: Neha Aggarwal, Dr. Richard Benson, Nancy Chapman, Michele Coleman, and Franciel Dawes.

Outgoing GWR board president Dr. Todd Villines was given special recognition for his exceptional leadership during this fiscal year. While leading the board, Dr. Villines has worked diligently to raise awareness of CPR training in schools in DC, VA, and MD. He is leading GWR’s Community Plan project and passionately advocates for AHA’s priorities in the DC Council. .

The American Heart Association’s Greater Washington Region could not achieve its impact goals without these incredible volunteers. AHA is incredibly grateful for all of the hard work and energy by our GWR ambassadors and advocates and their contributions to our mission.

 

Read More

Michele Coleman

Michele Coleman, District of Columbia

“This is not supposed to happen,” uttered Michele Coleman, remembering vividly the moment that cardiologists told her that her newborn baby was being rushed into open-heart surgery at seven days old. Little Dylan is Michele’s youngest of two sons, and quite the trooper. A resident of Washington, DC and planning to deliver Dylan there, Michele thought she had everything all mapped out. However, her OBGYN had different plans. Michele’s first son was delivered at a hospital in nearby Silver Spring, MD, and that is where her doctor wanted to deliver Dylan. So when the time came, Michele and her husband packed up their things, and off to MD they went - only a few miles away.

Delivery went smoothly, and doctors scurried off to take Dylan for his routine newborn screenings. All of the screening results came back normal, except for the pulse oximetry test. While waiting for doctors to explain what that meant, Michele had no reason to be overwhelmingly worried. Seven hours passed as they waited for a cardiologist to commute from Fairfax VA, to Silver Spring MD. Dylan was then taken for an echocardiogram, which revealed he was suffering from multiple critical congenital heart defects. Michele and her husband were dismayed to learn Dylan needed to be prepped for open-heart surgery.

“Plumbing issues, that’s how I like to describe Dylan’s heart,” simplified Michele. Dylan was born with an Interrupted Aortic Arch, Aortopulmonary Window, and a Patent Ductus Arteriosus. If not caught by the pulse ox test, Dylan would have passed away within 48 hours of discharge.

“In some ways, it's fate,” says Michele, thinking about how fortunate it was she gave birth in MD. At the time of Dylan’s birth in December of 2012, the state of MD had just passed a law requiring pulse ox testing for all newborns. Dylan was the first baby in MD since the law had passed to have had an abnormal pulse ox test reveal critical congenital heart defects requiring immediate treatment. Washington DC, where the Colemans live, had no such requirement.

Since then, it’s been Michele’s dream to not let another newborn leave the hospital without receiving this crucial lifesaving screening. She became a passionate You’re the Cure advocate with the American Heart Association, helping to gather and prepare other families to support the pulse ox issue as it came before the DC Council, and testifying before the committee hearing. She also works with the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association and leads the DC Chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a support group that provides encouragement and education to children and parents suffering from congenital heart defects.

Through the extraordinary advocacy of Michele and other parents like her, the Healthy Hearts of Babies Act was unanimously passed by the DC Council in June of 2015, and will become an enacted law in the fall. As a result, every newborn in the nation’s capital will be assured to receive heart defect screening with pulse oximetry prior to leaving the hospital.

Having lived through this experience, Michele has made it her life’s mission to educate parents, teach them what resources are available, and to decrease preventable deaths from critical congenital heart defects.

Michele brought Dylan with her to testify for the bill.  She says, “Having the pulse ox bill pass in DC is quite a victory. It made me proud to be able to stand up and say, this is my story.”



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 



<Many thanks to AHA You're the Cure intern Lauren Spencer for her help in developing this Advocate Story.>

Read More

Summer Health Tips

The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Below are a few tips that you can use this summer to keep your whole family happy and healthy.

 

 

Staying active in the summer months

  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and even after physical activity.
  • Protect your family from the sun.
  • Try to avoid intense physical activity during the hottest parts of the day (between noon to 3pm).
  • Dress for the heat.
  • Head indoors when the heat becomes unbearable. There are plenty of indoor activities that can keep you active on the hottest days.

Heart-Healthy Cookout Ideas

  • Go fish!
  • Make a better burger by purchasing leaner meat and adding delicious veggies.
  • Replace your traditional greasy fries with some heart healthy baked fries.
  • Veggie kabobs are a fun and healthy addition to your family barbeque.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob.

Healthy Road Trip

  • Make “rest breaks” active.
  • Pack healthy snacks to avoid the unhealthy foods at rest stops along your way.
  • Pack to play to continue your regular physical activity.
  • Reach for water instead of being tempted by sugary drinks.

Summer Snack Ideas

  • Homemade freezer fruit pops are an easy and fun treat for the whole family.
  • Keep your veggies cool and crisp during the summer months and they becoming a refreshing treat.
  • Fruit smoothies area a healthy way to cool yourself down on a hot summer day.
  • Mix up your own trail mix to take on all of your summer adventures.
  • Just slice and serve all the delicious fruits that are in season during the summer months.

 

Read more about these tips and other getting healthy tips over at www.heart.org/GettingHealthy 

Read More

Yolanda Dickerson

Yolanda Dickerson, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

I am the product of my village.  When I received the AHA Survivor Advocate of the Year award in DC two years ago, I knew it was really not about me. The award is a culmination of those who invested in me and what I’ve learned up to this point. For more than 11 years now I have raised money for heart walks, volunteered for American Heart Association (AHA) in booths at various events, and been a guest speaker to parents, survivors and even AHA staff.  I have helped train other advocates, spoken to countless legislators, and been featured in Public Service Announcements, but these things didn’t start with me.

My advocacy story started with my mother who encouraged all four of her children to not let adversity stop their dreams and to help others along the way.  I learned the power of resolve in the face of limitations from my brother Darrell; of working smart (not hard) from my brother Rodney; and to stay focused on family from both my younger brother Willie and Cousin Charles. My daughter, Ilana, has taught me the benefits of (sometimes) being silly and enjoying the moment.

These lessons have been honed and sharpened by AHA/YTC staff and volunteers through trainings and practice sessions. How could I begin to thank Sloan Garner, Betsy Vetter, Kacie Kennedy all the other AHA/YTC folks who have put time, trust, and support in my success as an advocate and as a person. Every survivor, caretaker, and medical provider I meet leaves their mark and positive influence on my resolve to continue volunteering. I can’t run cross country, but I can effect change that reaches beyond my community one volunteer effort at a time.

 To all those named and unnamed members of my ‘village’ I say thank you and I will continue to honor you by using my abilities to help others.

 Yolanda Dickerson, You’re the Cure Survivor-Volunteer-Advocate

 

Read More

You Don't Have to Face This Alone

 

If you, a family member, or a loved one has been affected by heart disease or stroke, it is important to remember that you are not alone. That’s why we want you to know about the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Support Network, a new, free online resource where you can connect with others who are facing the same challenges you are facing.

The Support Network is a sounding board to express your concerns and ask questions, and also to find encouragement, inspiration, and practical advice from others who are sharing your journey. Look at a few of the key topics people are discussing at the Support Network:

  • You’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke, or been diagnosed with heart failure, coronary artery disease, or another condition
  • Your child was born with or diagnosed with a congenital cardiovascular defect
  • You are about to undergo surgery, or begin cardiac rehabilitation
  • You would like rehabilitation advice from others on lifestyle modifications or medication adherence

The network provides opportunities for empathy and understanding, as well as education and resources for coping with change. Studies have shown that having support can affect physical as well as emotional healing, reducing depression and improving the quality of life. 

Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver, or want to learn how you can help someone you care about, we hope you’ll become a part of our community.

By sharing your voice, you won’t only be receiving the support you need, you’ll also be providing it to others. All online conversations are professionally moderated and confidential.

Together we are living with courage.  Join the community and meet others who are healing from heart diseases or stroke:

 

Read More

DC Council 101 - the Inside Scoop

In a town enthralled with government, becoming politically active can be a daunting adventure. Voyagers often discover the road to improved policy is tough and confusing. To alleviate this struggle, DC Council released a roadmap to help citizens navigate their way through DC’s distinctive system.

Council 101: Understanding the Legislative Process, follows treasured childhood figure, Schoolhouse Rock Bill, as he becomes a law. DC’s unique one house legislature makes getting involved easier than ever. Realizing that individuals have varying levels of policy-making expertise, this helpful little article includes three levels of intensity: 101, 102, and PhD.

Visit http://dccouncil.us/news/entry/council-101-understanding-the-legislative-process to read about it.

AHA’s You’re the Cure grassroots network is dedicated to creating easy ways for you to promote health policy. As a You’re the Cure advocate, you have access to all the necessary tools and resources to play a crucial role in the fight against heart disease and stroke. You can easily communicate with key legislators, communicate with advocates near you, and stay up-to-date on issues that matter most to you!

If you’re not already a member of this effective network, find out how easy it is to get involved. Join You’re the Cure today.

 

 

<Thanks to You’re the Cure intern Kassie Crook for help developing this blogpost>

Read More

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.

Check out a video highlighting our award winners below!

Read More

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!

Read More

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 StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeMonth to learn more about how you can get involved.

 

 

 

Read More

[+] Blogs[-] Collapse