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
Will you help influence scientific research?

We need to hear from consumers like you as the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) partner together on the future of research. Your experience could lead to the next research study to improve heart disease and stroke treatment.

As an advocate we’ve asked you to speak out for increased funding for medical research and you’ve answered by contacting lawmakers and sharing your personal stories as survivors, caregivers, and loved ones touched by heart and stroke disease. Now we invite you to share your experience, the decisions made in determining your or your loved one’s treatment plans and the factors that influenced those decisions. If we better understand your experience it can help guide the research that will lead to better care tailored to the specific needs of patients.

If you’ve had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, or you know a loved one who has, your unique understanding could help guide research to solve un-met care challenges faced by individuals like you and improve heart and stroke treatment.

Here are the details:

  • We are focused on un-met challenges faced by patients and caregivers like you. 
  • To join this challenge, you’ll be asked to provide a written submission of your first-hand experience after a heart disease or stroke event.
  • The story and description of the concerns you faced and the decisions you made should be personal and not a general case.
  • A team of scientific professionals and patient representatives with expertise in heart disease and stroke will review your story. Learning more about issues and concerns important to your decision-making can help them improve experiences and outcomes for patients in the future.
  • If your submission is chosen, you could win $1,000 and possibly help shape the future of cardiovascular research.
  • All submissions must be received by June 8, 2016.

Please take this important challenge and share your insights. Your story matters. Take the challenge today!

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Illinois Advocacy Committee Springfield Meeting

Last week, on May 3rd-4th the Illinois Advocacy Committee held their quarterly meeting in Springfield, Illinois. The two-day meeting started with a tour of Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation, where committee members were shown the latest technology and teaching techniques. The Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation was designed specifically to foster communication, education, collaboration and innovation among the healthcare workforce. Committee members were extremely impressed by the Surgical Skills Center and Simulation Center.

On May 4th, Illinois Advocacy Committee members were briefed on legislative issues including the HEAL Act - a penny per ounce tax applied to sugar sweetened beverages, and Tobacco 21 statewide legislation - an increase in the legal purchasing age of all tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. The group then was sent straight to the Statehouse to talk with their legislators on these issues and drop off petitions from constituents.

Thank you to all our amazing Illinois Advocacy Committee members who took time out of their busy schedules to attend the two-day meeting!

Check out more photos from the event here!

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Advocate Spotlight: Rosemary Jaffe

What is your why?

Being a survivor also means learning how to survive by being your own advocate and advocating for healthcare to help others.

What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

After my bypass surgery, I couldn't get past the feeling that I survived for a reason. Advocacy gave me something to fight for.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Good health insurance for everyone and more funding for research. I'm very passionate about finding better ways to treat and cure diseases that effect the health of our youth and to teach kids good habits so that they have a future free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Being an active member of the Illinois Advocacy Committee has been a wonderful experience. I enjoy our in-person meetings and discussions with people of all different backgrounds from all over the state. It is hard not to leave an Illinois Advocacy Committee meeting not feeling inspired to do more.

What is your favorite way to be active?


What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Berries, green beans, cauliflower and carrots.

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Spring Volunteer Opportunities

Advocacy Volunteers Needed
for Upcoming Events in Your Area

The Advocacy department needs 2-3 volunteers for each of the upcoming 2016 American Heart Association events. Be our hero by taking action in your community AND earn points which will allow you to move up in the You’re the Cure ranks! We will need help throughout the day working at the advocacy information table, collecting petition cards and recruiting new advocates for the You’re the Cure network. All volunteers will receive a You’re the Cure t-shirt.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer please contact Rae O’Neill at

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
Most Powerful Voices Gospel Concert

House of Hope, Chicago, IL
Volunteers needed from 4pm to 6:30pm


Friday, May 13th, 2016
Go Red for Women Community Health Expo

South Shore Cultural Center
Volunteers needed from 9:30am-2pm


Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Springfield Heart & Stroke Walk

Lincoln Park, Springfield, IL
Volunteers needed from 7:45am to 11am

Saturday, June 4th, 2016
Northern Illinois State Line Heart Walk

Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL
Volunteers needed from 7:45am to 11am  


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Advocate Spotlight: Lyzeth Mondragon

What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I was brought to the American Heart Association's website because my grandmother had just passed away. Both my grandmother and grandfather had suffered strokes so I felt a need to learn more about this topic. As I read about strokes and how I was at a higher risk because of my family history I knew that I wanted to do something to raise awareness. I ended up applying for a job with the American Heart Association and for the past 4 years have had the great opportunities to raise awareness and make an impact not only within my own family but also within communities throughout the Chicago area.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

I’m passionate about educating young adults on leading a healthier lifestyle because it is the choices we make now that will have a tremendous impact and allow us to live a long healthy life.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

My favorite advocacy experiences so far was being able to meet with my alderman and speak with her about the issues that are important to me. I was able to discuss ways that we could engage the community and bring American Heart Association resources to our community.

What is your favorite way to be active? 

Walking in my neighborhood park

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?


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Breaking News from Chicago: Tobacco 21 Passes!

On March 16, Chicago’s City Council passed the tobacco ordinance which included raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21!

Each day, nearly 2,500 kids in this country try their first cigarette. By raising the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21, Chicago has taken a necessary step to protect the health of its children. Studies have shown that almost 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 19, and this ordinance will make it that much harder for children to pick up this deadly habit.

Chicago just became one of the largest of more than 100 cities across the country who have passed Tobacco 21 laws, including New York, Cleveland and Evanston. We can’t thank you enough for your quick action and engagement on this issue!

We did it!

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Advocate Spotlight: Kathleen O'Neill

What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

Almost 11 years ago, I applied for the Illinois Director of Quality Improvement position at the American Heart Association - Midwest Affiliate. I had worked in health care for many years and I knew that promoting compliance with evidence based medicine could impact thousands of patient lives. I wanted to use my health care education and experience to help lead those efforts in IL.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

I want to make sure patients receive every intervention they are eligible for, according to our AHA/ASA science, when they are being treated for a heart attack or stroke, regardless of where they reside in our state.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

My favorite advocacy memory was helping to pass stroke legislation here in Illinois. This law passed in 2009 and assured that regardless of where you had a stroke in our state, you would be taken directly to a hospital that had the ability to treat the acute stroke patient, providing the best possible outcomes for our citizens. You should be able to live anywhere in our state and receive quality stroke care.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Working alongside our AHA volunteers to educate clinicians and increase awareness of AHA quality initiatives has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as Regional VP, Quality & Systems Improvement. That's how I like to keep active.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?



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Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity Webinar

On Tuesday, March 22nd from 2:00pm-3:30pm CST,  Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO) will be hosting a webinar: Tackling the Health Equity Challenges to Healthy Eating and Active Living: New Research and Action Strategies. On this webinar, IAPO will provide the opportunity to hear and share updates on all the new and improved work of the coalition and allow you to give your input on the direction and priorities of the coalition.

Keynote Speaker: Mildred Thompson, Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place, will speak on the impact of racism and poverty on obesity and how local community voices can be integrated into state policy development.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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Illinois State University Day at the Capitol

On March 2nd, the American Heart Association held the second Illinois State University Day at the Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. 50 students from the exercise physiology program at ISU, led by You’re the Cure volunteers Karen Dennis and Dale Brown, attended a morning training and an afternoon of lobbying. The students asked their lawmakers to protect the daily physical education requirement in Illinois schools. The students also advocated for the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program so kids have a safe opportunity to get physical activity every day.

The students visited their own lawmakers and dropped-off personalized notes asking their legislators to protect P.E. and fund a Safe Routes to School Program. Prior to the day, the students collected over 200 petitions that they were then able to deliver to Illinois State Senators and State Representatives, which helped to show legislators the amount of support from their districts for daily P.E. and a Safe Routes to School Program. This event would not have been possible without Karen Dennis and Dale Brown who allowed us to steal their class away for the day and teach them a little about advocacy. This was a great opportunity and we are looking forward to partnering with ISU in the future!

More photos from the day can be found on our Facebook page here:

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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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