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
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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Participate in your local August Recess!

We are looking for volunteers to take a meeting with their member of Congress while they are in town this August.

Important federal advocacy goals for Congress this year include:

  • CR (Cardiac Rehab) – changing a key Medicare provision so that those who have survived a coronary event can have easier access to rehabilitation programs
  • FA (FAST Act) – helping connect more stroke patients to life-saving telemedicine services
  • CNR (Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization) – protecting strong school nutrition standards
  • NIH (National Institutes of Health) – increasing federal research funding

 This is an important opportunity for us to get heart and stroke issues in front of our federal elected officials. If you can help us out, please contact Jess Nolan ( or 952-278-7928) as soon as possible.

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Norman is Why!

Meet Norman Petrik, one of AHA's top volunteers!


What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I have always been an advocate for lobbying, and after my heart surgery, that became important oo.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Urging people to eat healthy and exercise.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Going to the Minnesota legislature with other AHA members to speak to my legislators.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Biking outside if it is safe, or using the fitness center at Minneapolis VH when I am there to visity heart surgery patients for Mended Hearts.

What is your favorite fruit of vegetable?

Orange and apple every day for lunch, lettuce salad for supper.

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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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Legislative Session is Over, How Did We Do?

The legislature has adjourned for the 2016 session and as you likely have heard they worked right down to the deadline. The heart-health policies we have been working on celebrated some big wins and a few disappointments. Take a minute to read our recap below. Stay tuned for possible special session to address some of the issues the legislature failed to reach agreement on—transportation, bonding, and other issues.

The Wins

STEMI System of Care – We have built a system of care for the most time sensitive type of heart attack, a STEMI. The new legislation authorizes the MN Department of Health to designate STEMI Receiving Centers and requires all EMS services in the state to have current triage and transport protocols for STEMI Patients. As a result of this success the state’s 5.4+ million residents, including those 8,000+ individuals who suffer a STEMI each year, will now be more likely to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place, regardless of where they live in the state. This legislation has been a long time in the works and is now law thanks to your support and actions!

Strengthening Physical Education – We strengthened physical education this year by requiring new/updated PE standards and grade-specific benchmarks which were adopted as part of the supplemental budget bill (HF2749). Standards and benchmarks had not been updated since 2004! Much has changed since then to focus PE on physical fitness rather than competitive sports. This is a great win for Minnesota’s kids—stronger PE=healthier, happier, academically successful kids!

Good Food Access Fund – When we launched this campaign last fall, we hoped to build awareness about healthy food access with legislators this session, but ended up striking a serious chord for policymakers and stakeholders who want to see healthy food access addressed ASAP! The Senate language establishing the program, with $250,000 in one-time funding, was included in the supplemental budget bill under the Agriculture Article (HF2749). This small infusion of funds and establishment of the program in state statute will provide significant momentum to fully fund the Good Food Access Fund in 2017 (we are seeking $10 million per year for the fund). Stay tuned for more ways you can help keep this campaign moving forward and make it top of mind for lawmakers in the coming months.

Still in the Fight

Safe Routes to School – We are seeking a $6 million investment in safe routes to infrastructure in the capital investment/bonding bill. As you may have heard, no bonding bill was passed due to a last minute breakdown in the deal. The final version of the bonding bill did include funding for SRTS—up to $6 million at the discretion of the MNDOT commissioner. Possibility of a special session to pass a bonding bill is unclear at this time, but we will keep you posted when we know more and what actions you can take on this issue.

Active Transportation – As you have heard, no transportation bill was passed this session despite very intense negotiations throughout session and strong leadership by Chairman Dibble to fight for funding dedicated to active transportation – funding for walking and biking as part of a multi-modal comprehensive transportation package. This is one of the issues that is likely to resurface if a special session is called. We will continue to work this issue and ensure that walk/bike funding is a core part of the negotiations during a potential special session and next session.

Thank you for you action this year! It is because of dedicated advocates like you that we have been so successful! Please stay tuned for ways you can continue to help during the summer and fall!

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Rory is Why!

Meet AHA's new Corporate Health Engagement Director - Natalie McShane!


What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I have been passionate about the work of the AHA since my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. I have been involved in the Young Professional Ambassador group in the past and truly believe in the mission of saving lives. It's such an awesome experience to be a part of something so impactful!

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Safe routes to school is one of the issues I'm most passionate about currently. Having a little one, I know how important it is to have the ability and benefits of walking to school!

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Attending the Good Food Access Fund event this year was an eye opening and educational experience for me. I had no idea that the AHA was involved with so many other organizations working to help make the healthy choice the easy choice throughout our state!

What is your favorite way to be active?

I LOVE to dance! While I do enjoy running outside while listening to some good tunes, my favorite way to get my heart pumping is dancing!

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?


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My Life is Why!

Meet AHA volunteer, Angie Chafos!

What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

In 2010, I survived a heart attack. My left anterior descending artery was 100 percent blocked. When I experienced a very sharp pain from the front of my chest to my back, I realized this was critical, took two aspirin and rushed to the hospital. Time is muscle.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Awareness and education about heart disease is valuable. Everyone should be knowledgeable about heart disease because more people die from heart disease than any other disease. Recognizing symptoms, screening to manage heart related numbers, eating better and exercising are essential elements to living a heart healthy lifestyle for optimum health and living LIFE! I have been a AHA Neighborhood Volunteer for many years to get the word out about research and heart health information.

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Before my heart attack, I had never been on an exercise program. Through cardiac rehabilitation therapy, I learned how to use the treadmill and other exercise equipment as well as learning tai chi and yoga. My best friend is my pedometer which is always on my body enforcing my goal to reach 10,000 steps. Having professionals teaching me how to exercise and encouraging me to exercise to be heart healthy was a valuable life lesson.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Walking is the easiest form of exercise and requires no special equipment except for a good pair of walking shoes. I walk for causes and fundraising events with groups of people, thereby helping others with others while getting in my 10,000 steps.

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Beets have always been my favorite vegetables, and oranges my favorite fruit.


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MN STEMI System of Care Signed into Law!

On Friday April 29, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law HF2613 – to launch an official Minnesota STEMI System of Care and prioritize the highest quality treatment for anyone who suffers a heart attack, regardless of where they live in Minnesota! The new legislation authorizes the MN Department of Health to designate nationally accredited STEMI Receiving Centers and requires all EMS services in the state to have current triage and transport protocols for STEMI Patients! As a result of this success the state’s 5.4+ million residents, including those 8,000+ individuals who suffer a STEMI each year, will now be covered by a stronger statewide STEMI system of care.

This effort started 3 years ago when AHA MN launched its Mission:Lifeline (M:L) Grant program statewide and has relied on continued involvement from M:L  volunteers the entire way. Our partners in rural hospitals and rural EMS services were critically important to the continued pressure for the state to put policy in place to sustain the work of the M:L program.

Building on the continued success of the MN Stroke System, the MN STEMI legislation keeps the progress moving in MN to make sure that anyone who suffers a time critical medical event can receive the best possible treatment no matter where they are in the great state of MN!!

Pic #1= Rep. Roz Peterson (R-Burnsville), our chief author presents the STEMI Bill on the house floor for final passage.

Pic #2=M:L Chair Richard Mulvain testifies in the MN House HHS Committee on the importance of a STEMI System.

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Good Food Access Fund is Ready to Take on MN's Healthy Food Access Problem!

More than 340,000 Minnesotans face both distance and income as a barrier to obtaining healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats and poultry.1 This problem is only worsening with 61% of Minnesota counties losing grocery stores since 2007.2 Limited access to healthy, affordable foods results in disproportionately higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related health problems.3 It is also one of the key contributing factors to the health disparities that currently exist in Minnesota among many communities of color.4

Last fall, the American Heart Association and the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition obtained a Voices for Healthy Kids grant to create a healthy food financing policy solution to address this state-wide problem. We knew that such programs in other states were successful where grocery stores were reopened in low access areas, improving good food access and revitalizing local economies. 

In true Minnesotan fashion, we decided to do things a little differently. Based on feedback garnered during our ongoing community engagement and in accordance with the Minnesota Food Charter, we knew that solely reopening grocery stores would not be the answer. Working with partners across health, food insecurity, agriculture, and community-investment interests, we proposed the Good Food Access Fund which would be established and funded by the Minnesota Legislature. It would provide grants, low-cost loans, and technical support for food-related enterprises in areas of the state where people don’t have the ability to choose healthy, affordable foods. Those enterprises could include new or enhanced grocery stores, mobile markets and farmers’ markets, fresh food refrigeration, and other innovative community-driven solutions. 

We introduced the Good Food Access Fund bill at the beginning of the Minnesota legislative session in early March. We expected this to be an introduction/education year for the Good Food Access Fund – but WOW!!! Thanks to our amazing chief bill authors, Senator Dan Sparks and Representative Rod Hamilton, and the work of all our partners, the bill got so much more attention and support than we anticipated. The bill went on a whirlwind tour of 6 committee hearings in 6 weeks!  The last of the hearings, was before the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Equity, a new committee that represents the first time the legislature has taken a serious look at addressing racial disparities. The Subcommittee included our bill in their budget recommendations and appropriated $5 million in one-time funding!! This is far from the finish line and a final win is still a long ways away with many hurdles – but this is a HUGE accomplishment! The next few weeks of the legislative session will tell whether this $5 million appropriation becomes a reality. 

Our success this year really speaks to how relevant and important the issue of food access is in Minnesota; it crosses partisan and geographic divides. It’s not just an economic issue, it’s a health and equity issue as well. We have sent the message that improving food access is a priority in Minnesota! Thanks to all of the YTC members who have responded to our Action Alerts! We look forward to your continued support as we move forward! Please like and follow the campaign on Facebook for more information!


[1] Mattessich, P. & Rausch, E. (2016).Healthy food access: A view of the landscape in Minnesota and lessons learned from healthy food financing initiatives. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Wilder Research.

2 Center for Rural Policy and Development. Grocery Stores by the Number. Mankato, MN 2014.

3 Manon, M. & Kim, E. (2012).Food for every child: The need for more supermarkets in Minnesota. The Food Trust. 


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Upcoming Minnesota Advocacy Opportunities - Volunteers Needed!

Calling all survivors, caregivers, advocates, donors and volunteers! We have a few volunteer opportunities coming up in the next couple of months! Check them out below and contact Jess Nolan if you can help!

Transportation Forward Action Nights
Various dates in April 2016
Sierra Club, 2327 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
The legislature is in full swing and we need your help! We'll be reaching out to supporters to invite them to call their legislators. It's a fun easy way to make a difference! Training will be provided.
Click here to sign up!

Mankato Go Red for Women Luncheon
May 5th, 2016
Country Inn & Suites, Mankato, MN
We are looking for one volunteer to collect petition cards and recruit new advocates to our network. The volunteer will be needed from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM.

Twin Cities Heart Walk
May 14th, 2016
The Advocacy Department needs 6-8 volunteers for our upcoming Twin Cities Heart Walk on Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at Target Field. We will need help from 6:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. working at the advocacy information table, collecting petition cards and recruiting new advocates to our network. All volunteers will be dismissed in time to participate in the opening ceremonies and the walk that morning. All volunteers will receive a You’re the Cure t-shirt.

Most Powerful Voices Health Fair and Concert
May 21st, 2016
Shiloh Temple, Minneapolis
Two volunteers are needed from 12:00 - 2:30 PM for the advocacy table at the Most Power Voices Health Fair. Volunteers will be dismissed in time for the concert starting at 3:00 PM.

Please let us know if you and your friends and family can help at this event by contacting Jess Nolan at including the event name, and the names of those willing to volunteer.


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