American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Grant Announced to Provide CPR and AED Training for Students in Grand Rapids

Ninth-graders at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids will learn how to use CPR and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) through a pilot program sponsored by Amway.  The Grand Rapids Board of Education recently approved Amway's donation of 10 Physio Control LifePak CR+Automated External Defibrillators for 10 schools and support for the accompanying two-week pilot program that kicks off on November 9 with 150 students.  The pilot program will involve training and speakers. 

Rachel VandenBrink, school nurse coordinator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, said the new program will be integrated into the high school's health class.  The so-called SUPER CPR and AED will train the students to become Students United Prepared Emergency Responders (SUPER) and certify them in the AHA's HeartSaver CPR and AED program.  Read More

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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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Share Your Story: Allison Penski

Allison Penski Michigan

Allison is a true miracle to her parents.  She was born with transposition of the great arteries (TGA).  Her heart was hooked up incorrectly giving her two circulatory systems instead of one, thus making her a "blue baby" because her body was not getting oxygenated blood.  After being air-lifted to the University of Michigan Hospital just hours after her birth, she underwent her first surgery that night and her switch surgery (hook her heart up correctly) just three days later.  Allison may face more surgery as a result of her narrow pulmonary arteries, heart murmur, and inefficient aortic valve, but thanks to the advances in medicine nothing holds Allison back.  She has grown into a funny, active, kind, life-loving 11 year old who definitely keeps her parents on her toes.  She loves being a cheerleader and running cross country.  She also plays tennis, volleyball and travel softball.  Twenty years ago, kids with TGA wouldn't be leading a life like hers.  But through research funded by the American Heart Association, doctors are now able to identify this defect in babies before birth. 

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Did you know: Congestive Heart Failure

Did you know: the number of Americans diagnosed with heart failure is expected to increase by nearly 40 percent during the next 15 years and the costs of managing the illness will almost double, according to a new report from the American Heart Association released last Tuesday.

Congestive heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It’s one of the most common heart diseases in the U.S., with more than 870,000 new cases reported annually. There are ways to manage and treat heart failure, but about half of all people die within five years of being diagnosed.

To learn more about CHF, click here.

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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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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to help raise awareness with families across the country, the American Heart Association has brought back a fun and easy way to help you with the No. 1 health concern among parents – childhood obesity. Through the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™  families and kids will learn to take control of their health in four weeks by pursuing a different goal each week with activities that are fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family! By the end of the month, you might feel accomplished and be better equipped to live a heart-healthy life. There will also be four Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ Twitter Chats every Wednesday in September.

Mark your calendars and get ready to take the challenge in September by visiting - where you will have access to videos, complimentary challenge materials, and the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ social media group that will help you, and your family, stay on track.  



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New Stroke Guidelines Will Change Stroke Treatment in the U.S

Each year, more than 690,000 Americans have strokes caused by blood clots blocking vessels in the brain, called ischemic strokes. Some of the clots can grow large and may require intense therapy to treat.

However, widely celebrated new research reaffirms that large blood clots in the brain are less likely to result in disability or death, if the blockage is removed in the crucial early hours of having a stroke.

Right now the standard treatment is a clot-dissolving drug called tPA. But it must be given intravenously within 4.5 hours to be effective. For people with larger brain clots, tPA only works about a third of the time.

New studies recommend doctors to use modernized -retrievable stents, to open and trap the clot, allowing doctors to extract the clot and reopen the artery nearly every time when used with tPA.

To learn more read “Clot Removing Devices Provide Better Outcomes for Stroke Patients” and visit to learn the warning signs of stroke.

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Social factors could erase gains in heart disease, stroke

Although deaths from heart attacks and strokes have been declining thanks to advances in prevention and treatment, social factors such as race and income could reverse that trend, according to a first-of-its-kind statement from the American Heart Association.

The incidence of heart disease and stroke in the United States is expected to rise 10 percent by 2030, with the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age all partly to blame, the statement said.

Click here to read the rest of the article on our site!


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