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
Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Study: Increasing number of U.S. adults living with congenital heart defects

According to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, more adults are living with congenital heart defects in the United States, creating the need for more health services and tracking systems to collect data across all ages, not just at birth. 

A new study estimates that about 2.4 million people – 1.4 million adults and 1 million children – were living with these medical conditions in the United States in the year 2010.  Nearly 300,000 of them had severe heart defects.  Compared with the estimates for the year 2000, these figures represent a 40 percent increase in the total number of people living with congenital heart defects in the United States and a 63 percent increase among adults. 

Click here to read more!

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Share Your Story: Shelley Wyant

Shelley Wyant - Michigan

May 8, 2013 started out like any other day.  I got up, felt fine, went to work and spent my lunch hour at the mall shopping with a friend.  I had a 1 p.m. meeting with a colleague and that's where it happened; I experienced sudden cardiac arrest.  I don't remember it happening, but I'm told I grabbed my head and then collapsed.  Fortunately for me, my colleague knew CPR.  He started chest compressions and shouted for someone to call 911.  My place of employment was equipped with AEDs and employees had been trained in how to use them.  I was shocked twice before the paramedics arrived.  I was taken to the hospital and was in a coma for a few days.  The doctor had no idea what caused my sudden cardiac arrest because I had no symptoms and no warning signs.  I was healthy and exercised regularly. I didn't have any blockages, didn't have high cholesterol, didn't smoke,  and didn't have any diagnosed heart disease and no family history of heart disease.  My family had no idea if I would come out of the coma, and if I did, if I would have any brain daage.  I was in the right place at the right time.  The combination of CPR and the use of an AED saved my life.  Sudden cardiac arrest is just that -- sudden -- so it is vitally important to be prepared by knowing CPR and having AEDs in public facilities and people trained to use the.  So learn CPR, even Hands-Only CPR.  You will never regret knowing how to save a life!

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Help Protect PE for Kids Like Me!

Guest post from Reagan Spomer, 6th grader Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board Member & You’re the Cure Advocate

I have two words for you… scooter hockey.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  Scooter hockey, along with cage ball and 3-way soccer are some of my favorite activities in gym class, which I have a few times a week.

I’m glad I have physical education for a number of reasons.  It keeps me active and teaches me to try new things.  It helps me focus on my school work.  It relieves my stress.  And most of all, it makes me feel great! 

But I know a lot of schools don’t have regular PE like my schools does.  That means a lot of kids are missing out on the benefits of being active during the school day.  I think this needs to change.   

Will you help?  As part of the nationwide campaign to protect PE in schools, Voices for Healthy Kids has created a photo petition map to show how many people across the country love PE like I do.  As people share their pictures, the map will change colors.  I’ve added my “I heart PE” photo for South Dakota.  Will you do the same for your state?  It’s really easy:

  1. Print an “I heart PE” sign (or make your own!)
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Click on your state to share your photo.

Thanks for helping to protect PE for kids like me!

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Join us at the Indiana Healthy Food Access Policy Forum

You’re invited to join partners and advocates from across Indiana this month to discuss food deserts, food insecurity, innovative community solutions, and potential public policy for the 2016-17 legislative session.


Event details:

Indiana Healthy Food Access Policy Forum

Thursday, June 23, 2016

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center

2820 North Meridian Street

Indianapolis, IN 46208

Rooms 119 and 121


Full agenda will be sent to participants prior to the event.  Please visit this link to register:



Event will include a presentation by the Food Trust: Making Healthy Food Available to All


Since 1992, The Food Trust has been working to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. The Food Trust's comprehensive approach includes improving food environments and teaching nutrition education in schools; working with corner store owners to increase healthy offerings and helping customers make healthier choices; managing farmers' markets in communities that lack access to affordable produce; and encouraging grocery store development in underserved communities.



This FREE Policy Forum is brought to you by the Indiana Healthy Food Access Group:

American Heart Association

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry

Green Bean Delivery

Hoosiers Farmer’s Market Association

Indiana Healthy Food Access Group

Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative

Indiana Minority Health Coalition

Indiana State Alliance of YMCAs

Indy Food Council

Top 10 Coalition

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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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Be a featured advocate!

Each month in our newsletter, we highlight one of our great American Heart Association volunteers or survivors.  We always need new stories to feature - can you help?

If you'd like to be featured in our monthly newsletter and on our website, please send an email to and let me know!  You can check out what others have shared by visiting:

Want to help?  There are three things we need:

1.  The story.  We will have room for a short paragraph.  There is no story too small and everyone is welcome to submit their experience.  We want you to make your story grab the attention of people who come to the site.  Be passionate.  Explain how your experience has impacted your life and why you are committed to helping us advocate.

2. A picture.  Yes, we’ll need your best photo we can post so that everyone will see that there is a real person behind the story.

3. Your permission.  This is the boring part.  If you’d like to be featured on the website, I’ll send you a form that has to be filled out and returned.

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Share Your Story: Wilda Evans

Wilda Evans Indiana

Wilda Evans realized the importance of heart health as a young girl as she watched her father suffer a series of heart attacks five years apart.  “When my father was in his 70s, the doctors told him he had the body of a 50-year old. He was fit and healthy, except for his heart” Evans said.  “My mantra became: There are a lot of things that I may not be able to control regarding my health, due to genetics and the environment, but there are things I can do so that I’m not increasing my risk. Eating healthy, diet, exercise, not smoking.”

Evans began supporting the American Heart Association during the years following her father’s first heart attack and has continued to advocate for the organization over the years. She has participated in the Indianapolis Heart Walk almost since the event’s inception 25 years ago.  “My mom also had heart failure and a series of strokes, and her father died of a massive stroke the week before I was born. I’ve also had some cousins who have died too young,” she said of her family history of heart disease and stroke.

Most recently, Evans’ family dealt with a stroke two years ago. Evans’ son-in-law was brushing his teeth when he became disoriented and unable to speak. Fortunately, Evans’ daughter was in the next room and immediately recognized he was having a stroke. Within 30 minutes, he was being treated with clot-busting drugs at the hospital.

“There have been so many strides and advancements over the years, and I continue to support the AHA because of the valuable work being done. Without support, there would be less funding for research and education. The upcoming generations need to know that it’s important to keep their hearts healthy.”

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Share Your Story: James Young

James Young, Michigan

Winter season 2011, will forever be a reminiscence of what eventually became a diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure.  There I was, after a snow storm, shoveling a path down the sidewalk when I began to cough up, what I thought to be phlegm. However, after taking further notice behind me, as I continued to shovel snow, it was actually a trail of blood.  I'm sure some would instantly go into shock, panic, and drive themselves to the nearest emergency room.  Not me.  Instead, I kept shoveling that snow and when done, I went inside, where it was warm, took off my winter coat and accessories, made some hot cocoa and enjoyed the next few hours of YouTube video surfing.  Big mistake.

As Spring chased away the bitter cold and introduced sunshine, not only was I still coughing up blood but now my couging had worsened to the level of coughing convulsions -- especially when I laid down at night.  I could barely hold a conversation with anyone because once I opened my mouth to formulate words, my coughing would interrupt that attempt.

Because of my high acidity diet that included a high beer consumption on a regular basis, I would develop gout in my feet.  These gout attacks would become more constant and frequent as time went on.  Gout tends to cause inflammation and swelling around the big toe and around the ankles of the feet.  Ultimately, my "Band-Aid" attempts of taking Motrin proved to be non-beneficial and my gout flare ups became immune to the medication which caused me to limp a lot and, at times, not even able to put on my shoes.  I would also have to walk with my grandfather's cane, just to get around.

As summer came into view, I would awakened in the mornings and vomit, on top of the lingering coughing attacks that, at this point, were so strong, I would have to brace myself to prevent falling to the floor that's how strong my coughs became.

In terms of my heart, its beating patterns were so rapid, it felt as if I ran a marathon - just sitting.  One could actually see my heart beating out of my chest.

One day, my sister, out of much concern, convinced me to go see my doctor.

My first visit, I was given a full physical and placed on high blood pressure medications. In addition, my doctor gave me some other prescription medications that no human could possibly decipher into the English language.

The medication did very little in bringing about any normalcy in my condition so my doctor thought to perform an EKG.  When those results came back I was strongly encouraged to return to the doctors office immediately for the news.

Congestive Heart Failure was the diagnosis.  CHF is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should.  Still not quite understanding what those three words truly meant, she then hit me with kidney disease, pneumonia on my lungs, fluid retention, and an enlarged heart. Possibly because of the heavy medication I was under, I took all the news rather lightly and unconcernedly.  I had no idea how badly of a state my health was in. 

After several additional visits to the doctors office, which became weekly visits, this one visit was the tipping point.  My mother drove me to this appointment because by this time, I couldn't drive myself, due to the heavy medication I was under.  When we reached the reception area, I found it very difficult to get settled in a chair, I began to feel warm and my nerves were all over the place.  I told my mother I was going to step outside to get some air.  Unbeknownst to me, my mother and my doctor found me standing in the center of the parking lot, head tilted to the sky, trying my best to inhale air. 

My doctor yelled at me to get to emergency immediately.  I complied and found my self admitted.  During my almost two week stay, I was told that at 40 years of age I was the youngest person in the unit.  The cardiologist informed me that if I had waited another week, I would have died.

Laying in the hospital, confined to bed as a fall risk, I had no other choice but to reflect on my life, what I had done to myself, and if given another chance, what I would do differently...if I had another chance in my immediate future to change.

After my initial release I found myself back in emergency due to the fluid retention in my legs not subsiding.  After being released seven days later I began having regular visits to a cardiologist which terrified me with his ending comments into his handheld voice recorder.  Those last words were "...Patient James Young...if we do  not see improvement in his condition within the next 30 days, we will proceed with defibrillator implementation.

Let's just say, I used the next 30 days as if they were my last!  I stopped drinking alcohol, sodas, fast foods, minimized my cigarette smoking significantly and remained faithful to the Lasix medication regiment.  In less than a month, I was under 200 lbs. (195 lbs.) from 270 lbs.  I had another physical as well as an EKG on that day.

The results were delivered in the mail and the first thing I see is a personally drawn happy face with the words "Good Job James" next to the happy face.  After reviewing the results with my doctor she made one last comment that stuck with me.  She said "you have become responsible."  She went on to add, "you have overcome a condition that thousands of individuals suffer from everyday and your job in this second wind in life, it is important to share your triumph and give others the same hope that they too can CHANGE!"

So here I am today, still no alcohol consumption, done with cigarettes, and soda is a distant memory.  I am now able to do upwards of 10 miles on the track.  And to top it all off, I'm not longer on prescription medication.

If I can lend any advice, I had to learn to love myself MORE than my bad habits.  I had to deal with what was eating me before I effectively tackled what I was eating and putting into my body that was literally killing me.  Now, life is GREAT!!

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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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