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Take the You're the Cure Advocate Survey

2015 was a great year for You're the Cure advocates and the many policy efforts that you work on. We have big plans for 2016, and we want to hear from you and what you want to see in the future for You're the Cure.

So take the survey now and let your voice be heard.

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Georgia Legislators Celebrate National Wear Red Day

Last week the Georgia House of Representatives recognized February 5 as National Wear Red Day, a day aimed at increasing awareness of heart disease in women. Members of the American Heart Association’s Georgia Advocacy Committee and representatives from Piedmont were at the capitol to receive the resolution.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

We thank the Georgia House of Representatives for recognizing National Wear Red Day. Together, we’re banding together as a force for change, for each other and for our future.

Learn more about heart disease in women at GoRedForWomen.org. 

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New Study Links Sugar-Sweetened Drinks to Increased Visceral Fat

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages every day was associated with an increase in a particular type of body fat that may affect diabetes and heart disease risk, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation.

Data from the Framingham Heart Study — federally supported, ongoing research that has advanced the understanding of cardiovascular disease — showed that among middle-aged adults, there was a direct correlation between greater sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and increased visceral fat.

Visceral fat or “deep” fat wraps around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. Visceral fat affects how our hormones function and is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance – which may boost Type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk.

Read more at heart.org.

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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Voices for Healthy Kids Awards Grant to Georgia Bikes

Guest Blogger: Brent A. Buice, Executive Director for Georgia Bikes and member of the American Heart Association’s Georgia Advocacy Committee

Georgia Bikes is very pleased to have been awarded a Voices for Healthy Kids grant to support the proliferation of robust Complete Streets policies in cities throughout Georgia. This funding will allow Georgia Bikes to hire a full-time Complete Streets Coordinator, who will assist the Executive Director with local polling, coalition building, presentations and policy work in sixteen cities outside of the Atlanta Market.

The goal of the campaign is to help those cities that do not currently have Complete Streets policies to adopt best practices policies and to work with communities that do have such policies to improve them and to develop actionable implementation plans. While several cities in Georgia do have Complete Streets policies on the books, implementation has lagged, and much needed improvements for non-motorized road user safety have not been pursued.

Campaign work has begun in earnest, and Georgia Bikes looks forward to announcing its new Complete Streets Coordinator very soon. Our first major campaign activity will be targeted polling in five Georgia cities. The purpose of the polling is to gauge likely voter support for the adoption and implementation of Complete Streets policies. With polling data, Georgia Bikes will coordinate seminars, meetings and policy analysis workshops with key stakeholders in target cities.

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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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

Website:  www.coachchipmalone.com

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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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