American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
  • Take action and be heard
Go Red for Women Community Expo

On Friday, May 29th, Illinois Advocates asked the crowd at the Go Red For Women Community Expo to support the progress made by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. These amazing You're the Cure volunteers collected over 300 petitions in support of healthy school meals. This free event included heart-health screenings and consultations; exercise, cooking and CPR classes; healthcare panel discussions; and valuable take-home resources.

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You're the Cure Hero: Bob Biggins

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

I had my stroke in 2003 while serving in the Illinois legislature. I'd already been working with the American Heart Association on health care issues so after I was able, I became a visible advocate for heart healthy issues.

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

Now retired, I continue to address heart healthy matters as I serve on a study group established by the legislature to continue work begun for stroke survivors. Our work product is shared nationally with the neediest populations affected by stroke.

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

I work with a stroke advocacy group called SSEEO. We've initiated a new survivor- to- survivor program that has been received very positively by both providers and recipients.

What is your favorite way to be active?

I exercise at my local health facility three times a week but also keep physically busy with eight of our grandchildren living in the same house.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Banana fresh off the tree!

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Illinois Advocates Traveled to D.C. for National Lobby Day!

On May 11 and 12, the Midwest Affiliate joined more than 380 advocates in Washington D.C. for You’re the Cure on the Hill national lobby day. We had 53 volunteers 10 of which were youth advocates, 20 staff representing all 11 states in the affiliate who stepped up to the plate for healthy school lunches and medical research funding. We had 13 volunteers representing Team Illinois: Lisa Bartlett, Bob Biggins, Lynne Braun, Danielle Cortes Devito, JR Dietl, Kirk Disrude, Angela, Donnie and Madison Feick, Karen Larimer, Scott Saxe, Brian Shields, and Carrie Skogsberg. In all, the entire event conducted 293 meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers, asking them to protect the progress made by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and support school nutrition standards, and also to make cardiovascular disease and stroke research a national priority by increasing the budget of the National Institutes of Health. We were able to meet with staff and several Members of Congress throughout the day. Team Illinois meet with Senator Mark Kirk, stroke survivor for more 30 minutes to talk about the importance of research funding as it relates to stroke and stroke rehabilitation. The Midwest Affiliate made a huge impact in D.C. in just two days, but the fight isn’t over. You can support our work by contacting your own Members of Congress here.

Check out more photos from this great event!

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The Go Red For Women Community Expo

American Heart Association | American Stroke Association


The Go Red For Women Community Expo

Union Station’s Great Hall

500 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago

Friday, May 29th

8:30 am to 2 pm

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, killing one woman every minute. An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease, and it is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. But with the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended.

We invite you to join us for the 4th annual Go Red For Women Community Expo on Friday, May 29th at the Great Hall in Union Station from 8:30 am to 2 pm! This free event will include heart-health screenings and consultations; exercise, cooking and CPR classes; healthcare panel discussions; and valuable take-home resources.

Register at (under "Events").

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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 below highlighting the award winners!

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Advances in Stroke Treatment Just in Time for Stroke Month

Check out this great article from the Chicago Tribune on the advances in stroke treatment, just in time for Stroke Month. Based on findings from recent studies, stroke patients will benefit from advanced treatment offered by comprehensive stroke centers across the nation.

Hospitals in Illinois and across the country are changing the way they treat strokes after a battery of recent clinical trials found that swift surgical intervention improves the odds that patients will function normally again.

Instead of trying to break up the clots that cause strokes using only intravenous medicine, hospitals are increasingly offering a surgery along with the medicine while also speeding up treatment to reduce brain damage.

In the most recent of a half-dozen studies published in the past six months, 60 percent of patients who received both the surgery and the medicine regained the ability to walk, talk and live independently, while just 35 percent who received only the medicine recovered to the same degree, according to an article published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Continue reading here

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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!

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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 to learn more about how you can get involved.




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Advocacy Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Spring Events!

Advocacy Volunteers Needed
for Upcoming Spring Events in Your Area

The Advocacy Department needs 4-6 volunteers for our upcoming Spring 2015 events listed below. 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.

Please let us know if you’re interested or if you know friends and family members that are interested in helping volunteer for these events by contacting Rae O’Neill at

Please include the event name, volunteer’s name, t-shirt size, and cell phone number.

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 
Most Powerful Voices Gospel Concert
House of Hope, Chicago, IL
Volunteers needed from 4:30pm to 10pm

Friday, May 1st, 2015 *ALL SPOTS HAVE BEEN FILLED*
Suburban Chicago Go Red For Women Breakfast
Miramar Bistro, Highwood, IL
Volunteers needed from 7:45am-10:30am

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 *ALL SPOTS HAVE BEEN FILLED*
Suburban Chicago Go Red For Women Breakfast
Hotel Baker, St. Charles, IL
Volunteers needed from 7:45am-10:30am

Friday, May 8th, 2015 
Suburban Chicago Go Red For Women Breakfast
Maggiano’s, Oak Brook, IL
Volunteers needed from 7:45am-10:30am

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 
Springfield Heart Walk
Southwind Park – Hope’s Pavilion
Volunteers needed from 8:30am to 12pm

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 
Quad Cities Heart Walk
The District of Rock Island
Volunteers needed from 8am to 11am  

Friday, May 29th, 2015 
Go Red Community Expo
Chicago Union Station
Volunteers needed from 7am to 4pm

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 
Northern Illinois Heart Walk
Rock Valley College
Volunteers needed from 8am to 12pm

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Chicago Pilot Health Event Series Sparks Health Innovation

The largest challenge faced by new healthcare technology companies is finding a place to test run their new product or idea. Almost every startup aiming to bring innovation to healthcare has obstacles obtaining their first pilot at a hospital. Often times, entrepreneurs are lost on who to approach at the hospital. Even if these entrepreneurs are able to get in front of hospital decision makers, their product or idea might not be a relevant solution to the hospital. What if instead of having to sell the problem as well as their solution, entrepreneurs could work to solve a problem they know a hospital is dealing with?

On March 26th, American Heart Association, Health 2.0 Chicago and MATTER joined forces to hold the event, "So You Want to Pilot your Product or Your Idea at My Hospital". The event brought both healthcare influencers and innovators together to help healthcare startups pilot their technology in hospitals. Paul Magelli, CEO of Apervita, moderated the discussion between entrepreneurs and hospital executives on the "code of conduct" for these initial interactions. The event hoped to facilitate discussion between both sides so that relevant solutions to hospital problems arise efficiently and quickly. Panelists advised healthcare startups on how to pilot their technology in hospitals, and helped hospitals understand how they can be more innovative. Panelists included Jason Keeler, David DiLoreto, Stephen Sprieser, Harry Rowland and Paul Berrini. The event was a great tie-in to the goal of Heart Innovation Forum which aims to bring new lifesaving technology to the patient's bedside and to the mission of American Heart Association.

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