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Lobby Day MVPs in the Spotlight

There were SO many amazing stories surrounding this year’s Hill Day that it was hard to narrow down our annual lobby day award winners. Not a bad problem to have! Please join us in congratulating these You’re the Cure MVPs, and then learn more about their stories in this video.

 

  • Science Advocate of the year – Dr. David Yu-Yiao Huang: Dr. Huang has been involved with AHA advocacy since 2003. From submitting expert written testimony and attending in-district meetings, to speaking before lawmakers, his passion for policy and his belief in the positive change policy can achieve has contributed significantly to big wins in North Carolina.
  • Volunteer Advocate of the Year – Theresa Conejo: Theresa has been one of the key proponents of Pennsylvania’s comprehensive smoke-free law. Last year, she signed a smoke-free op-ed which was picked up by major news outlets across the state. She also aggressively advocated for the proposed Clean Indoor Law. In addition, she recruits new You’re the Cure advocates at every opportunity. In fact, just recently, she signed up an additional 35 volunteers to join her in Pennsylvania’s smoke-free fight.
  • Survivor Advocate of the Year – Jim Bischoff: Jim’s own struggle with heart disease, as well as his experience with his son-in-law’s stroke, gives him a unique perspective to share during state and federal lobby days and meetings with lawmakers. His family history inspired him to provide leadership on stroke systems of care legislation. He also dedicates his time to tobacco issues, and attends in-district meetings with his lawmaker to discuss both of these important issues.
  • Youth Advocate of the Year – Cassidy Collins: Cassidy uses her story as a congenital heart survivor to illustrate the importance of AHA’s policy issues. At the age of 16, her resume is already quite impressive – she’s met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to advocate for tobacco control funding; she has been a top fundraiser for the Roanoke Heart Walk for two years; and she has applied to work as a youth advocate for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Check out a video highlighting the award winners below!

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How to Keep the Winning Game Going

You're the Cure on the Hill isn’t the only opportunity to connect with members of Congress! As their constituents, you have the power and the RIGHT to tell them at any time to step up to the plate on the heart and stroke issues you care about most.


Here are some tips for getting your lawmaker off the bench and into the game:

 

  • Follow them on social media and send them messages on issues you care about.
  • Sign up for their e-newsletters on their websites. This is a great way to learn about events where you can meet the lawmakers in person and stay informed.
  • Work with your local AHA advocacy staff to schedule an in-district meeting. Members of Congress come home throughout the year on recess breaks, so they use this time to meet with constituents back in the district. Take advantage of their time at home and schedule a meeting to discuss the heart and stroke issues that matter to you and your family.
  • Most importantly, take action year round. Watch your inbox for calls to action from You’re the Cure and continue engaging your lawmaker through emails, phone calls and tagging them in your social media posts.

We had a real impact this week, but we need to keep the momentum going. Let's keep reminding our members of Congress that they need to step up for heart health all year round!

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Louisiana Twitter Chat, June 2nd

To celebrate National CPR Awareness Week and the one year anniversary of the Louisiana CPR in Schools bill, the Burke Cobb Act, the American Heart Association is hosting a statewide Twitter Chat on June 2 at 10 a.m. CST.

The Twitter Chat is an hour virtual conversation centered on CPR. It will feature a question and answer session between the host Twitter handle, @HeartNOLA, and any participants. The goal of the conversation is to bring awareness to the benefits of Hands-Only™ CPR, the need for more bystanders to be CPR trained and to celebrate the first graduating class in Louisiana under the Burke Cobb Act.  You can participate in the conversation using the event hashtag #LACPRWeek.

R.S.V.P. today at twubs.com/LACPRWeek. We hope you'll chat with us on June 2nd!

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Campbell Martinez, Louisiana

Campbell Martinez, Louisiana

Campbell was diagnosed with Tetrology of Fallot the day she was born.  On March 2, 2011, at the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, she had open heart surgery at only 6 months old.

Campbell is almost 2 years old now and she’s doing great!  She loves coloring, drawing with chalk and playing with her twin sister and two older sisters.  She has been an absolute trooper and a blessing to our entire family. We feel very blessed and privileged that God gave her to us!

My family and I are thankful to and support the American Heart Association because without them, the technology and studies for heart disease and stroke would not be as advanced as they are today.  I believe that because of the American Heart Association, our sweet Campbell will have a healthy life just as the rest of us do!

I will continue raising money each year for babies born with TOF and other heart conditions because every child deserves a great life.  Through the American Heart Association, we are several steps closer each day to making this happen.

UPDATE: This post was originally written in December 2013, and we'd like to update you on how Campbell is doing today.  "She is doing amazing!  She is currently playing Wee-Ball with her twin, Carrington, and has more energy than all three of her sisters put together!  She is very outgoing and keeps me on my toes.  We still have visits to her cardiologist every 6 months. For now, she is doing awesome and I can only pray that she stays healthy and keeps going in the right direction!  Campbell will be 4 years old in August."

-Written by Trisha Martinez

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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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Smoke Free New Orleans: Cleaner Air for All on April 22

New Orleans is on the verge of something great!  On April 22, New Orleans will become 100 percent smoke free.  This means that the city council has put the health and wellness of the community first by taking a stand against smoking in all workplaces, including bars and casinos.

Our state loses over 10,000 people each year to heart disease and stroke, and smoking is a large risk factor.  By eliminating smoke from all workplaces, the American Heart Association hopes that number will soon decrease.  Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, doubling the risk of heart disease and stroke for those who smoke and those exposed to second-hand smoke.

Smoke-free New Orleans is a step in the right direction for a healthier and stronger community in which to work and live.  The City of New Orleans will now be looked to as a leader for health outcomes in the South.

A number of risk factors for diseases and illness are uncontrollable, which makes it even more imperative to address and prevent the risk factors that we can control, and smoking is one of them.  But there is still work to be done as we need to preserve the importance of clean air in all workplaces for all New Orleans workers by ensuring the casino remains smoke free.

Show your support for a healthier community by:

- Attending the New Orleans City Council meeting on April 9 at 10 am to show your support. You might want to arrive early for a parking spot and a seat!     

- Calling your council member to share your support for a completely smoke free New Orleans.  Click here for a list of council members!

Let us know your thoughts.  Are you ready for New Orleans to be 100 percent smoke free on April 22?

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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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Share Your Stroke Story

About 800,000 American adults have a first or recurrent stroke each year.  Almost 136,000 Americans of all ages died of a stroke in 2007.  The estimated direct and indirect cost of stroke to the United States for 2010 was $53.9 billion.

But what is stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain.  It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (ruptures).  When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, and brain cells will die.

Have you or a loved one survived a stroke?  Share your story here!  We want to hear your story and share it with lawmakers and other advocates.  If you’re unsure of where to start, focus on your diagnosis and journey to recovery, how it changed your life and what you think everyone should know about surviving a stroke.

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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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Big News from the Big Easy!

On January 22, the New Orleans City Council unanimously voted in favor of a 100% smoke-free New Orleans as proposed by Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell. Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the ordinance into law the following week. With smoke-free bars and casinos, New Orleans now has one of the strongest smoke-free ordinances in the South. The American Heart Association honored Councilwoman Cantrell for being a champion for Smoke-Free NOLA on February 6 at the New Orleans Go Red For Women Luncheon. 

However, our work isn't done. The council is considering amending the ordinance to exempt casinos. We need your help to keep the ordinance strong! Stay tuned for how you can support Smoke-Free NOLA. Follow us on Twitter (@YouretheCureLA) and like us on Facebook. 

 

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