American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Be the Cure, Join Today!

  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Chip Malone, Georgia

 The American Heart Association is very sad to learn of the sudden passing of dedicated advocate Coach Narleski “Chip” Malone on Oct. 3, 2015. After a long and brave fight with heart disease, Chip passed away the weekend before his 60th birthday. His wife, Cynthia, remains a tireless advocate for cardiovascular health in her husband’s memory. In honor of Chip's legacy, we'd like to share his story with you - in Chip's own words - that was originally published in December 2014.

My story begins on a college campus as the youngest grandson of Dr. James H. White, Founder and first President of Mississippi Valley State University located in Itta Bena, MS.  I was a typical, fun-loving boy surrounded by a great family and friends, a good student, and later received a full scholarship to play football at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. with several players that went on to become NFL greats. After a knee injury in the Mississippi High School All-Star game ended my football career, I decided to coach athletics instead. During my 32-year career in the school system, I had some successes, taught many promising students, and began to teach next generation family members. Those challenging and fulfilling years provided for my wife of 30 years, Cynthia, and our beautiful young ladies, Lauriel and Crystal. We are Chip’n Away @ Heart Disease and this is why.

In 1997, a new mandate issued by the board of education required that not only student athletes, but coaches would have to get a physical exam. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and heart concerns that would be treated with a couple pills. “You may be a candidate for a heart transplant.” Now, you know I didn’t want to hear that!  In total denial, I looked at my physician and said, “Okay doc, anything else because practice starts at four o’clock today.” He couldn’t possibly be talking about me, right? I continued to work as an educator/coach keeping a strenuous schedule of teaching, maintaining four playing fields, conducting practices and coaching games ending most evenings at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. for several years. I worked hard, was not prone to illnesses, and shared in raising my family, also athletes, on a healthy diet and exercise regimen. So, where did all this come from? I found myself under the watchful care of my doctor who said, “If you want to live, stop smoking.” I did -- that day. Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, meaning my heart was less able to pump blood throughout my body, I continued to work until retirement in June, 2009.

From my initial diagnosis, until one year after retiring - June, 2010, something went terribly wrong. Because of a virus that attacked both ventricles of my heart, I became a statistic due to heart disease and had a heart transplant after being on a life-sustaining device. I spent many days and nights in local hospitals until being referred to Emory St. Joseph’s in Atlanta where I spent fifty days. Cynthia never left my side. At this point, I was struggling to breathe with congestive heart failure; I had a pacemaker and underwent dialysis for five months because of my weak heart. A machine used for the first time ever at the hospital, the BiVAD (BiVentricular Assist Device), pumped blood throughout my body which revived my failing organs and allowed me to be put on the heart transplant waiting list. My surgeon informed me that I could only be on this new device four weeks. “What then,” I asked. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said.

What did I think about while on the waiting list? My family. Mostly, I prayed. What did my wife and I talk about? Meeting our grandchildren and not taking anything for granted. Going into the third week, “the call” came and a nurse excitedly, ran into the room saying, “Mr. Malone, we have a potential heart for you!” Two families were impacted 1:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010; both the donor family and my own. The gift of life came in three weeks – yes, three weeks. In the Foreword of my book, A Second Chance, one of the physicians wrote, “He is a miracle of modern technology. His story is really one of the triumphs of the human spirit and faith.”

I am passionate about being a volunteer with the American Heart Association because I don’t want what happened to me, to have to happen to anybody. To honor my donor, we are advocating heart health and educating others on preventive measures in various communities, and I am returning to high schools educating students on obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  My wife and I visit churches and are invited to present to civic organizations. Since my transplant four years ago, I mentor and volunteer my time having reached approximately 30,000 people. Birthed from these efforts is a non-profit organization called Chip’n Away @ Heart Disease whose mission is to give back through outreach programs that direct public attention to heart disease.

Find me on Facebook:  Coach Narleski “Chip” Malone


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The Golden Radish Awards of Georgia

On Oct. 7, Georgia Organics gathered school nutrition directors, Department of Education, Public Health, and Department of Agriculture leaders at the Georgia Capitol to issue the 2015 Golden Radish Awards which recognize schools for their farm-to-school efforts, including local food procurement and student gardens.


Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorary Level awards were given to a total of 39 school systems. According to Georgia Organics, in the 2014-15 school year, locally grown food was featured on school menus 3,022 times, 1,809 standards-based, farm-to-school lessons were taught, students tended to 328 edible school gardens, and 19 districts included farm to school language in policies or procedures.

After the award ceremony, guests were invited to lunch under the Gold Dome with food inspired by Georgia school meal recipes.

To learn more about the Golden Radish award program, visit here.

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!


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Record Breaking Metro Atlanta Heart Walk

On Sept. 26, dozens of interactive and informative booths lined Centennial Olympic Park for the 2015 Atlanta Heart Walk. Participants learned about Hands-OnlyTM, tasted delicious low sodium snacks, met American Heart Association Heart Walk Sponsors, jumped in the Kid Zone, and learned about the American Heart Association's legislative priorities.

At the You're the Cure booth, we invited guests to spin the ”Wheel of Tobacco Facts,” quizzing them on a variety of Georgia-specific tobacco tidbits. Did you know:

  • Patrons can still smoke in bars and restaurants in Atlanta who only serve ages 18 an up;
  • Georgia’s cigarette tax is the 3rd lowest in the nation at 37 cents a pack;
  • Nearly 13 percent of Georgia’s high school students regularly smoke; and
  • The tobacco industry spends $348.7 million a year in Georgia on marketing and advertising.

A petition was on hand for participants to sign letting the Georgia legislature know that the public supports an increase in the state tobacco tax by $1.23, an amount that would bring our state more in line with the national average of $1.58.

More Heart Walks are scheduled around the state. Visit to find one near you!

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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to help raise awareness with families across the country, the American Heart Association has brought back a fun and easy way to help you with the No. 1 health concern among parents – childhood obesity. Through the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™  families and kids will learn to take control of their health in four weeks by pursuing a different goal each week with activities that are fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family! By the end of the month, you might feel accomplished and be better equipped to live a heart-healthy life. There will also be four Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ Twitter Chats every Wednesday in September.

Mark your calendars and get ready to take the challenge in September by visiting - where you will have access to videos, complimentary challenge materials, and the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ social media group that will help you, and your family, stay on track.  



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Will You Walk This Fall?

Heart Walks are the American Heart Association’s key event to raise funds that support breakthrough research in preventing and treating heart disease and stroke, America’s No.1 and No. 5 killers.

These are family-friendly events with a variety of activities taking place before and after the Walk. Learn about CPR training in your community, the American Heart Association’s role at the State Capitol, share your story, or purchase a torch to carry for a loved one during your walk. Family, Friend, and Company teams are forming today!

We have seven Heart Walks in Georgia this fall. 

Gainesville    September 12, 2015
Columbus    September 17, 2015
Metro Atlanta    September 26, 2015
Athens     October 9, 2015
Macon     October 24, 2015
Northwest Georgia   October 24, 2015
Valdosta November 7, 2015

For more event information and registration, visit

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Rhonda Briggins, Georgia Advocacy Chair

Rhonda Briggins, J.D. GA

Rhonda Briggins, J.D. dedicates her life to public service through her role as a community advocate, political strategist and servant leader. She serves on various boards of directors such as the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Vote Run Lead, DeKalb Workforce Development, and DeKalb Housing Authority Advisory Committee.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and she is the Regional Social Action Coordinator for the Southern Region which includes Alabama, Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  She also a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and is the Georgia Legislative Chair.  

Leadership development is a great passion of hers.  She has developed, marketed and implemented numerous workshops for elected officials, corporate offices, non-profit organizations, businesses and schools in this area. Her expertise and understanding of politics and political trends makes a valuable resource to many elected officials, company executives, employees interested in enhancing their skills. She is often sought after as a keynote speaker and workshop leader. To date, she has taught and trained thousands in the areas of political strategy, communications, public involvement fundraising, and base building. 

Rhonda brings over a decade of experience in advocacy and public policy.  She is currently the Senior Director of External Affairs for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).  She oversees Community Relations and Government Affairs (federal, state and local) for the Authority.  Over the last two years, she has worked with the Georgia General Assembly to pass major transportation legislations for the state of Georgia and MARTA amounting in over $1billion dollars for the agencies.

She has a Juris Doctor from Jones School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Law and Society from Georgia State University.  She resides in Tucker, Georgia with her son, Kai.

Join us in welcoming Rhonda to the team!

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New Stroke Guidelines Will Change Stroke Treatment in the U.S

Each year, more than 690,000 Americans have strokes caused by blood clots blocking vessels in the brain, called ischemic strokes. Some of the clots can grow large and may require intense therapy to treat.

However, widely celebrated new research reaffirms that large blood clots in the brain are less likely to result in disability or death, if the blockage is removed in the crucial early hours of having a stroke.

Right now the standard treatment is a clot-dissolving drug called tPA. But it must be given intravenously within 4.5 hours to be effective. For people with larger brain clots, tPA only works about a third of the time.

New studies recommend doctors to use modernized -retrievable stents, to open and trap the clot, allowing doctors to extract the clot and reopen the artery nearly every time when used with tPA.

To learn more read “Clot Removing Devices Provide Better Outcomes for Stroke Patients” and visit to learn the warning signs of stroke.

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AHA, Aramark join on meals initiative

Aramark, the largest U.S.-based food service provider, has joined with the American Heart Association on a five-year initiative to make the meals it serves healthier. Changes will impact more than 2 billion meals served each year at schools, businesses, sports venues and elsewhere.

The initiative, called Healthy for Life 20 by 20, will implement a 20 percent reduction in calories, saturated fat and sodium and a 20 percent increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“Experts have estimated that if the American public increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet current public health recommendations, 127,000 lives could be saved each year,” said Al Royse, chairman of the AHA. “It’s essential that we make healthier options more easily available to consumers and empower them to choose these options for themselves and their families.”

Read the rest of the article on

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