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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Share Your Story: Hayden Grimm

Hayden Grimm Iowa

Hayden was born January 21, 2011, and at the time his parents had no idea anything was wrong with him. Twelve hours after he was born though, he was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He was diagnosed with Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. Hayden had his first open heart surgery at six days old, second at five months and third at three and a half years old. Hayden will never be "fixed," but he is doing well. He is currently on 3 daily medications, loves pickles and salad and stays active. He just finished up Preschool and is excited to go to Kindergarten in the Fall!

Join Hayden and his family on September 11, 2016 at the McGrath Amphitheatre for the Cedar Rapids Heart Walk to help fight heart disease and stroke in Iowa!

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Share Your Story - Tatum Henderson

Tatum Henderson Iowa

Tatum’s tangle of heart problems were discovered in the womb. At their 20-week ultrasound, Jamie and Cale Henderson were excited to learn they would be welcoming a baby girl. The other news that day wasn’t as joyous. Their unborn daughter had several problems with her heart. Doctors didn’t initially know the full extent of the condition. "It was devastating," Jamie said. "I thought I was going to carry a child that wasn’t going to live and I didn’t know where to go for help."

The couple from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was referred to a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Iowa. Every few weeks, specialized ultrasounds and fetal echocardiograms provided more information about baby Tatum. "We were just hanging on from ultrasound to ultrasound, wondering what we’d learn next," Jamie said. The ultrasounds pointed to several possibilities, though nothing clear-cut. Yet the conversations with the pediatric heart surgeon gave Jamie and Cale hope.

Tatum was born July 4, 2011, weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. She also was very blue. She was put on oxygen and whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit. She underwent an echocardiogram shortly after being born. The next day, doctors performed a catheterization procedure to get a clearer picture of how her heart was wired. The official diagnosis was "Tetralogy of Fallot," a heart defect with several different problems. Tatum’s case was a variation, combining a rare set of factors that would be difficult for doctors to repair.

For instance, her pulmonary arteries – which are supposed to take blood to the lungs – weren’t doing their jobs, so the heart developed additional vessels to compensate. But those vessels didn’t have the capacity Tatum’s heart needed, keeping her body from getting enough oxygen; that’s why she was blue. She also didn’t have a pulmonary valve. "She was born suffocating, basically," Jamie said.

Tatum underwent open-heart surgery when she was eight days old. She remained hospitalized for a month, then went home hooked up to oxygen tanks.

A month later, Tatum underwent another catheterization procedure to see how things were progressing.

Her pulmonary arteries weren’t growing as doctors hoped, but the other vessels were continuing to grow. The surgeon at the University of Iowa felt he could make the repairs needed, but it would take at least two surgeries. The family was referred to a specialist at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who could possibly do it in one.

They flew west in mid-December. The surgery took nearly 11 hours. And it worked. Tatum spent eight days in the hospital, much of it spent with her body learning how to function with a heart that was now functioning in a new, better way. Once home in Iowa, Tatum received oxygen at night only for the first few weeks as her heart and lungs healed.

Since then, Tatum has mostly become a normal toddler – jumping and doing gymnastics, although weight gain remains a challenge. Tatum undergoes an echocardiogram every six months and a heart catheterization.

Jamie says Tatum’s journey has given the family a new appreciation for the research supported by the American Heart Association.  "The AHA gives us a place to belong and where other families can relate in some way, or many ways, to our situation and us to theirs," Jamie said. "Heart complications do not discriminate based on age, gender, etc., and the AHA offers support for all.

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90 Seconds Can Save a Life

We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of teaching high school students CPR before they graduate, but what if YOU are called on to give CPR in an emergency? You will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: your spouse, parent, child or friend.

In just 90 seconds, you can learn the two simple steps of Hands-Only CPR. Click below to watch the Hands-Only CPR video and then share the link with family and friends!

Thank you for learning 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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Share Your Story: Katelyn Larson

Katelyn Larson Iowa

Katelyn Larson was born a beautiful and healthy baby but suddenly at 3 months old, she became very sick. That night she would not eat, started choking, her lips turned blue and she became lethargic.

Her parents raced her to the closest ER in Ida Grove, IA where an X-Ray showed an enlargement in her heart. Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha was contacted and they sent their own ambulance to transport her to Omaha. More tests were run and her breathing and condition rapidly grew worse. She was rushed into the PICU and was hooked up to life support, and unfortunately she stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.

That morning her parents were told that her left heart chamber was enlarged to twice its normal size and that she would most likely need a heart transplant! She was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, caused by a genetic marker and a virus that went to her heart. She was placed on the heart transplant list and waited 28 days for her new gift of a healthy heart. She was released to go home and reunite with her two older brothers after being away for almost 3 months.

Today, Katelyn has passed all of her growth markers and is an active and vibrant 2 year old. She is now only on 3 medications, down from 15. She is an overcomer and reminds us all of how precious life is. 

Katelyn is now helping spread the word about congenital heart defects, which occur at the rate of 1 in every 100 babies. She will be the 2016 Ambassador at the Sioux City Heart Walk which is being held on May 14th!

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Share Your Story-Derek Means

Derek Means Iowa

Derek Means is a typical 12 year old boy who enjoys playing basketball and video games.  You would never know that he was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone 3 lifesaving surgeries, with another in his future.  Derek is thankful to the American Heart Association and his wonderful team of doctors and nurses for saving his life and giving him the opportunity to raise awareness as this year’s Central Iowa Heart Walk Ambassador.  This year’s Central Iowa Heart Walk will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2016.  Click Here to join Derek and so many others in their fight against heart disease and stroke.

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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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The healthy difference a month can make

March is Nutrition Month, and a perfect time to get more involved with the AHA’s ongoing efforts to promote science-based food and nutrition programs that help reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Every day, we’re seeing new initiatives: to make fruits and vegetables more affordable; to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened beverages that our kids are drinking; and of course, to ensure students are getting the healthiest school meals possible, all with the same goal: to help families across the country lead the healthiest lives they possibly can.

It’s also a great opportunity to lower your sodium intake. The average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day – more than twice the AHA-recommended amount. Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to lead to elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Visit for tips on to lower your intake and to get heart-healthy recipes.

However you choose to celebrate, Nutrition Month gives us all the chance to take control of our diets; to recommit to eating fresh, healthy foods; and to remember all month long that you’re the cure.

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Share Your Story: John Logsdon

John Logsdon Iowa

John Logsdon of Colo, IA is 69 years old.  Last August, he had a STEMI (myocardial infarction or widow maker) heart attack. He had been driving to a local machine shop to deliver materials.  When he got to the shop and started unloading his truck, he began sweating profusely and having a hard time breathing. 

Prior to this, he had no signs of cardiac problems.  In fact, he had just been to the Iowa Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines a month prior and had a good check-up.

When he started experiencing symptoms, the men at the machine shop called 911.  Colo Fire and Rescue squad was dispatched and got to John in about 1 minute. The EMT’s loaded John into the ambulance and started care, which consisted of CPR, use of the defibrillator and obtaining a 12-Lead ECG-equipment to relay critical heart readings to the nearest hospital able to handle cardiac patients. 

Colo Fire and Rescue transported John to Story County Regional Medical Center in Nevada, IA, arriving about 10 minutes later. Once there and using the data sent to the hospital from the ambulance, doctors decided he needed to be immediately air lifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines that would be able to treat his STEMI heart attack.

At Mercy, Dr. Iannone placed 2 stents in the coronary arteries of John’s heart. Today, John is doing very well, and he credits the speed and care of the Colo Fire and Rescue EMTs and the teams at Story County Regional Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines for saving his life.  John’s story is why state-funding for Mission Lifeline is so important, because without the proper equipment and education, the system of care can’t work together seamlessly to provide live-saving care.


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