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From the Bottom of our Hearts - Thank You!

National Volunteer Week (April 12-18) is right around the corner and we couldn’t let it pass without saying how much we appreciate all your contributions as a You’re the Cure advocate. It’s advocates like you who give their time, energy, and passion to help create healthier communities across the country.  We are deeply grateful for your commitment and talent as an advocate.

Since staff can’t always shake your hand and say thank you in person we’ve got a brief video to share. When you watch I am sure you too will be moved by all the great work happening in your states and communities and we look forward to more success in the future. Take a moment to check out the video and then encourage other to get involved and join in the fun.

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Grace Firestone

Grace Firestone was given an incredible gift--a second chance at life. Just days after her high school graduation, her brother saved her life by performing CPR until EMTs arrived and what she’s done since is extraordinary. Grace understood that her story had the ability to inspire and worked with American Heart Association staff to convince decision-makers that teaching every student hands-only CPR was not only feasible, but necessary. Thanks to her dedication and a two-year effort, all Delaware students will now graduate with the skills to save a life.

In addition to her health advocacy work, Grace is studying to take the MCAT for Fall 2016 entry into medical school, serves on the patient advisory board of Christiana Care Health System and is captain of her club soccer team, a sport she wasn’t sure she could return to. For a woman barely in her 20s, Grace has already left a lifesaving legacy and her work is just beginning.

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Who Do You Know?

With so many issues before our lawmakers, it often takes someone with a personal connection to really ensure our voice is heard. That's where YOU can really make the difference! Please take a moment to take our survey and tell us what you think (and who you know!).  

Thank you for being a You’re the Cure Advocate and standing up for a heart-healthy future for yourself and your loved ones!

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Help secure funding for this life-saving AED program today!

This is a critical time in Congress. Lawmakers are deciding on their funding priorities and the next round of budget negotiations are beginning. Even in this difficult economy, there are several federally-funded programs that are vital to the heart community, and we need to let our lawmakers know they must be a priority.

One such program helps buy and place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in rural communities. The program also trains first responders and others in the community to use and operate these devices. The Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program ensures those who live in rural areas or small towns have access to the tools they need for the best chance of surviving a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, the program currently only has the resources to operate in 12 states.

Please contact your lawmaker today and ask them to prioritize funding to save lives from cardiac arrest!

People in every state should be given the best shot at surviving a cardiac arrest. Communities with aggressive AED placements have increased survival rates from about 11% to nearly 40%, which is an incredible improvement. But 38 states are still waiting for funds for this life-saving program.

Deadlines in Congress are looming, so please contact your elected officials TODAY!

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Bill to Improve Stroke Care in KY Has Passed!

What if a bill could make the difference between life and death or between ability and disability for Kentucky's stroke victims? It can. Senate Bill 10 would ensure Kentucky's stroke victims get the fast treatment they need for the best chance at a full recovery and, thanks to your outreach to lawmakers, was just passed by the legislature!

Kentucky is part of the stroke belt and has higher rates of strokes than many other states. The law will continue the development of a stroke system of care in Kentucky that adds comprehensive stroke centers and acute stroke ready hospitals to the state’s existing Primary Stroke Center designation program.

Timely access to a hospital that has the systems in place to provide this specialty care can often make the difference for stroke victims and their loved ones. Thanks to quick passage of Senate Bill 10 this session, stroke victims in the Commonwealth will have the best chance for quick treatment and a full recovery.

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Advocate Spotlight: Ruth Caruthers

Ruth Caruthers West Virginia

It all started with a blog.

My son Corbin was in the hospital for heart surgery; he was only 9 days old for his first procedure. I had hours and hours to surf the internet, scouring sites for more information on his heart defects, and finding more and more parents just like me. Parents who had gone through the same journey and had words of wisdom and encouragement to share.

Some stories did not have happy endings. I came across one when I searched “pulse oximetry” that would change my life. It was a story of a mom whose daughter had died from undetected heart defects and had went on to pass a bill in her state that required a newborn pulse oximetry screening to help detect heart defects. I read her words, page after page, with tears running down my face. After I had digested all the information I could from her page, I looked up and said to myself “I can do that.”

Our dear little Peanut, Corbin would not survive his third heart surgery. His broken heart stopped on May 17th, 2011, just three months after he graced this world. It was just 8 months later when I, along with two other “heart moms,” with the help of the American Heart Association, introduced West Virginia’s first pulse ox bill. With the grace of God and thousands of supporters, the bill passed a very quick three months later! Heart defect screening is mandatory in WV as of January 1st, 2013.

You could say that I am helping to change the world, but I say that my son is. My son is saving lives every day through this bill. His story doesn’t end there! Every single day, I work towards spreading his legacy and educating other parents on the importance of pulse ox and how it can save your child’s life. Even though my son did not survive, he has impacted our world in a way that cannot be undone or forgotten. His legacy will continue on through each baby that is born every day in this state that is screened with pulse ox. Corbin’s Bill IS my son and he is changing the world.

Thecorbinstory.com

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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It's 2015. It's Time for a Smoke-Free Kentucky!

"It's 2015. It's time for a Smoke-Free Kentucky!" That's the message nearly 500 Kentuckians brought to Frankfort with them on Wednesday, February 11th, as they converged on the state Capitol. Advocates from every corner of the state gathered together once again to meet with their lawmakers and rally on behalf of House Bill 145, a bill that would ensure that ALL Kentuckians are protected from secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places. After their scheduled meetings with legislators, participants gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a media event and then lined the steps to show support for Smoke-Free as House members entered into session for the day.

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Advocate Spotlight: Theresa Conejo

Theresa Conejo Pennsylvania

My name is Theresa Conejo and I have been a You’re the Cure Advocate and AHA/ASA volunteer since 2007. While attending an American Heart/Stroke Association sponsored event at my workplace, I took the pledge and signed on. As a seasoned, Cardiovascular Nurse of thirty years, I see daily the devastating results of these diseases. Whether I am teaching a newly diagnosed patient with atrial fibrillation on the use of Coumadin, reviving a heart attack patient with CPR or assisting a stroke victim with his meals, I see and do it all.

My first Federal Lobby Day in 2007 focused on the Fit Kids Act, legislation that would ensure kids get adequate physical activity during the school day. This was, in my opinion, the beginning of the movement to address the childhood obesity crisis, an issue near and dear to my heart. It was exciting to meet such dedicated and powerful advocates and together we took our concerns to the Hill. Since 2007, I have attended five Federal Lobby Days and four PA Lobby days in addition to many in-district legislative visits, and am looking forward to the 2015 Lobby days ahead. Particularly important to me this year is working to get my state of Pennsylvania to be completely smoke free. Being involved in the passing of the original legislation back in 2008, I know PA needs to tighten the current law and my fellow advocates and I have been working hard to convince our legislators of this need. Through face-to-face visits with my State Representative to editorials and Op-Eds I have written, I'm hoping to create an increased awareness in my community for a tighter law without exclusions.

After two exciting terms on the National Advocacy Coordinating Committee, I am honored to be part of the Scientific Advocacy Coordinating Committee (SACC). In addition, I have volunteered myself to the American Stroke Association’s Minority Affairs Committee and serve as a board member at large for the Great Rivers Affiliate. It is my desire to experience the American Heart/Stroke Association through all of it’s many levels so I can become a more well-rounded, experienced advocate. Through my passion and commitment, I hope to inspire others to take action and help improve the health, well-being and quality of life in their community, state and nation.

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Meet the New Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December to serve as the next surgeon general of the United States. The surgeon general is America’s top public health official, and his responsibilities range from managing disease to promoting prevention and a healthy start for our kids.

At 37, Vivek Murthy is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to hold the post of Surgeon General.

Since this position was created in 1871, just 18 people have held the job. Dr. Murthy, the 19th, replaces an Acting Surgeon General who has filled the role since 2013. Dr. Murthy’s confirmation was delayed for nearly a year due to political issues, but in that time he received the endorsement of more than 100 public health groups, including the American Heart Association.

Dr. Murthy has both business and medical degrees from his studies at Harvard and Yale. He completed his residency at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he most recently served as an attending physician. He has created and led organizations to support comprehensive healthcare reform, to improve clinical trials so new drugs can be made available more quickly and safely, and to combat HIV/AIDS.

His resume is remarkable, and we look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy to improve the health of all Americans.

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