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Share Your Story-Iowa Legislative Breakfast

Legislative Breakfast Iowa

The American Heart Association held their first Legislative Breakfast of 2016 on January 13th focusing on the need for a state funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. As a federally-funded program, SRTS provides the financial resources to repair sidewalks, hire crossing guards, and remove the barriers that discourage parents from allowing their students to walk to school. Because Iowa has received limited federal funds, the American Heart Association is encouraging the state legislature to invest $1.8 million to create a state-funded Safe Routes to School program.

Supporters and volunteers from across the state joined the American Heart Association at the Iowa State Capitol to talk with their lawmakers about why they support a state-funded SRTS program due to the health, safety and economic benefits it will provide for all Iowans, and especially children.

 

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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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Share Your Story: Tucker Crum

Tucker Crum Iowa

In January of 2015, legislation was passed that requires hospitals to screen newborns for congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry. Tucker is a little boy whose life was saved because of this testing, in fact, he was the first baby in Iowa to be diagnosed with a heart defect using this testing after this legislation passed! Here is Tucker’s story from his mom, Aly:

Tucker was born at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa. Excited family and friends, including his 2 year old sister Rylee, came to visit our healthy, 8 pound 2 ounce baby boy at the hospital each day. Our last night at the hospital Tucker went to the nursery where they did an oxygen saturation test using a pulse oximeter which raised serious concerns about his heart. Tucker was immediately taken to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where he was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries, meaning the two main arteries of the heart were reversed. We were told that Tucker was the first baby in Iowa to be diagnosed with a heart defect using the pulse oximetry testing since legislation was passed to have the test done on every baby before they go home. Ironically, holes in Tucker’s heart were allowing the blood to mix and get limited oxygen keeping him alive. Tucker underwent an arterial switch procedure performed by an extremely talented cardiac surgeon by the name of Dr. Joseph Turek. That day was a long and emotional one as our son fought for his life. After several hours, Tucker came out of surgery and his medical team reported that the repair went very well.

Now, at 2 years old, Tucker is doing great! He is extremely active and on-the-go and just full of life. He continues to have great check-ups. We were so blessed that Tucker’s heart defect was caught so early by the pulse oximetry testing allowing for this wonderful outcome and ultimately saving our baby’s life. Tucker is not scheduled for any more surgeries.

 

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Save the Date - 2016 Legislative Breakfast!

Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? The new Legislative Session is quickly approaching and with that comes our annual breakfast! This year we have teamed up with the Healthier Iowa Coalition and will be focusing on our Safe Routes to School efforts. RSVP today!

Healthier Iowa Legislative Breakfast at the Capitol
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 7 - 9 AM (stop by anytime!)
Iowa State Capitol - Rotunda, 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA

We'll be talking about the importance of Safe Routes to School and there will be activities for the kids, so feel free to bring the whole family!

Safe Routes to School creates safe and convenient opportunities for children to bike and walk to and from school, helping to reverse the alarming rise in childhood obesity. It will also promote academic performance and reduces healthcare costs in the state of Iowa.

We'd love to see you there! Use this opportunity to grab a free heart-healthy breakfast and spend 5 or 10 minutes introducing yourself to your lawmakers. It's the perfect time to let them know what's on your mind as they go to work for YOU.

Just click this link to RSVP today!

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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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Share Your Story - David Tucker

David Tucker Iowa

You’re the Cure Advocate Spotlight

Meet a Hero in our YTC community, David Tucker.

We want to share his accomplishments, passions, great work and a little personal information too. Continue reading to find out what makes David such an outstanding and inspirational advocate!

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

I was asked.

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

Issues having to do with heart disease because it has been in my family for 3 or more generations. So far, though, I’m ok (my heart, that is).

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

Advocating for shared school facilities in Iowa. The legislation was passed and the Governor signed the bill. I’m proud to see our hard work payoff.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Signing petitions, writing letters and calling legislators.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Apples, pears, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus but not Kale.

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Share Your Story: Cameron Price

Cameron Price Iowa

Cameron from Fort Dodge, IA just turned 10 on September 2nd and has already gone through 4 open heart surgeries during his life, with the most recent being in 2010. He had his first open heart surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics just 4 days after he was born in Fort Dodge. 

Cameron was born with a congenital heart defect called 
tricuspid atresia & pulmonary atresia, which means that he was born without one of the necessary valves in his heart. 

Then in 2008 it was confirmed with a CT scan that Cameron had suffered an 
ischemia stroke which affected the left side of his body. Despite all that he has been through, Cameron is doing great & doesn't let much keep him back according to his dad. 

Cameron Is Why the American Heart Association is working hard to fight heart disease and stroke every single day!

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Share Your Story-Owen Hunt

Owen Hunt Iowa

Owen Hunt is a character-he has a certain charisma about him of someone much older.  He is an inspiring 4 year old boy who loves to talk and tell stories, play with Legos, puzzles, his dog and, on occasion, his sister. On the outside, Owen is a very normal little boy, but on the inside he is battling heart defects and autoimmune disorders.

A few weeks after Owen was born his parents began to notice that something was wrong because he was having a lot of trouble eating and breathing. At two months old, doctors found that his aorta arched to the right instead of the left as it should and had fused with another blood vessel creating a vascular ring which was pinching his esophagus and trachea shut. To help fix this problem, Owen was operated on when he was 3 months old.

At 15 months old he had another surgery to repair another defect in his aorta called a diverticulum, which is like a "bulge" or pocket. In his short four years he has also been diagnosed with having a VSD (a tiny hole in his heart), BAV (two aortic valves instead of three), GERD/reflux, tracheomalacia (weakness in part of his trachea), structural abnormalities of his lungs, chronic bronchitis, severe eating delays, Esinophillic Esophagitis (an autoimmune reaction to food proteins), and an autoimmune disorder called PANDAS (brain inflammation caused by the body's reaction to strep virus).

Despite all of this, he is an adorable entertainer with so much enthusiasm and creativity!

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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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Share Your Story: Dr. Benjamin Reinking

Dr. Benjamin Reinking Iowa

As a Pediatric Cardiologist, I choose to be involved with the American Heart Association for one simple reason: Heart disease and stroke are preventable. Think about that. The leading cause of death and disability in the United States is preventable. Even more amazing is that most of the solutions are simple: eat a healthy diet, stay active, and don’t smoke. Working with the American Heart Association to help spread this message and create heart healthy communities and schools is an easy way for me to make a difference.

Every day I have the privilege of working with children who are born with congenital heart disease. These "heart warriors" and their families bravely battle a life threatening birth defect. They come to their clinic visits, take medications, and undergo surgeries all to help correct a heart that didn’t form correctly. Throughout this ordeal, the most common question parents ask me is "Why did this happen?" Unfortunately, in most cases, we still don’t know the cause of congenital heart disease. By working with the American Heart Association, I hope to be able to raise awareness about congenital heart disease and advocate for research dollars. I’m confident that someday we will discover the cause of congenital heart disease and will be able to prevent it.

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