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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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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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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