American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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  • Learn about heart-health issues
  • Meet other likeminded advocates
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Gulf Coast Heart Walk Asks You about Smart Snacks

Over the past several years, Mississippi schools have been working to establish a lifetime of healthy choices for our students by making sure healthy meals are available at breakfast and lunch. So far, this is working! Mississippi’s obesity rate is either leveling off or dropping in some groups, according to the latest data from Trust for America’s Health.

Now, Mississippi schools are focusing on healthy snacks – also known as Smart Snacks. Evidence suggests improvements in children’s behavior and education outcomes when the school food environment is improved. Some evidence suggests that promoting healthier options and a positive dining environment can improve learning-related behavior.

With this new focus, we’re asking participants at Heart Walks, “Which would you choose?” – the Smart Snacks or ‘not so smart’ snacks. We recently did this at the Gulf Coast Heart Walk on October 3.  One student said, “If I had the healthier choice in front of me, I think I would enjoy it, especially since it’s good for my body.”

Click here to view more event photos on our You're the Cure - Mississippi Facebook page. 

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Ollie Galloway, Jackson, Miss.

Our 2015-16 Mississippi Advocacy Committee is composed of 12 individuals from across the state with different occupations, and a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart health issues. We will introduce you to our members throughout the year. Today, we'd like you to meet Ollie Galloway from Jackson, Miss.

How long have you been a volunteer with the American Heart Association and in what capacity? This is my first year being involved with the AHA and I am serving on the state advocacy committee.

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA? The personal experience of how CPR saved my son’s life has inspired our family to share the awareness of CPR and other heart-related conditions and issues.

What heart healthy issue is most important to you and why? CPR because when our son was in the emergency room on June 2, 2014 our ER physician told us, “Because E.J.'s coaches performed CPR on your son, they SAVED HIS LIFE!” CPR is why. Life is so important to the Galloway family!

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy? Exercise and education. Encouraging ourselves and others to embrace a healthy lifestyle with exercise and education. I truly believe, when we learn better, we do better.

How is your community healthy that makes you proud? The awareness, events, education for our local Metro Jackson American Heart Association office is tremendous. The volunteer involvement makes the difference.

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? Newspapers, news stations, and the Internet

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? Required CPR in every school (elementary, middle school & high school). The importance of CPR training, kits, and continuing education in our school system. Our students spend most of their day with other students. The education and training for each student will save a life. The goal of everyone involved is needed, not depending on staff/administration to perform CPR – the education/training for students will save lives too.

Do you have a favorite AHA/ASA event you annually attend? What is your motivation to participate? The Go Red for Women Luncheon is my favorite! Our son E.J. attended this year for the first time and his heart story was displayed. We are humble and grateful to offer our service to the AHA. Without the gift of CPR, we would be sharing a different heart story.

Have you attended a state or federal lobby day on behalf of the AHA?  If so, please briefly explain your experience. YES! We attended the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day in Washington, D.C. in September 2015. 

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate? The importance of sharing E.J. heart story. If it saves one life, our giving and sharing has not been in vain.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure? To support a great cause and because one person can make a difference.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself. I love God and I am a BASKETBALL MOM! Go E.J.!

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Mississippi Teen and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Travels to Washington, D.C.

Guest Blogger: Ollie Galloway, You're the Cure advocate and member of the American Heart Association Mississippi Advocacy Committee

Last month my son E.J. and I represented Mississippi for the American Heart Association at the third annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day in Washington, D.C., an event dedicated to calling on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority. Over 300 organizations were present!

Life-saving, life-changing and life is why are a few phrases that describe our trip. The rally was the perfect stage for sharing E.J.’s heart story - on June 2, 2014, CPR saved E.J.’s life after he suffered cardiac arrest on the basketball court.

On Sept. 16, we arrived to Washington, D.C. and attended a training for event participants. We learned that the mission of the National Institutes of Health leads to more progress, more hope and more lives saved. After the training, we attended a reception at Capitol Hall followed by a dinner for American Heart Association staff and volunteers. The survivor stories shared during this dinner were miraculous. Matthew 19:26b states, “…but with God all things are possible.” God allowed our mission to be possible.

E.J. Galloway with Mississippi legislators during his D.C.

visit: Congressman Thompson, Senator Wicker, Senator

Cochran, and Congressman Harper.

The next day, event participants gathered for breakfast and were prepared for that day’s Hill visits. The speakers motivated and encouraged us for a successful day of rallying. EJ and I met with Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Representatives Bennie Thompson and Gregg Harper. We shared the awareness for medical research in every meeting. We also connected with each member, finding something in common such as similar likes or people we know. Everywhere we went on Capitol Hill, people asked E.J. to pose for pictures; his 6’9 frame was like a picture-taking company on the move. All of this exposure helped raise additional awareness for medical research. The entire day was a blessing.

God positions people in the right place at the right time for His Glory. We know that attending the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day was God’s Plan. We are honored and humbled to have participated and look forward to our next opportunity to bring awareness to heart disease on behalf of the American Heart Association.

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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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Meet Wanda Salley, Mississippi

Our 2015-16 Mississippi Advocacy Committee is composed of 12 individuals from across the state with different occupations, and who have a great interest in advocating for policy change for heart health issues. Throughout the year, we will introduce some of our members.  Today, we are introducing Wanda Salley, RD from Gulfport, Miss.

Occupation: Child Nutrition Director

How long have you been a volunteer with the AHA and in what capacity?  I recently began serving on the State Advocacy Committee, but I have also been involved with the Youth Market Program within the American Heart Association for the last two years in the 'Schools for Heart' program, Jump Rope for Heart, and Hoops for Heart. 

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA? Helping people be healthy is my passion!!

What heart healthy issue is most important to you and why? Exercise and nutrition; I work within my county's school wellness program to help implement healthy strategies for each school.

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy? Healthy eating and exercise

How is your community healthy that makes you proud? Active lifestyles on the coast

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state?  Groups and involvement in health related issues

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? MORE WALKABLE COMMUNITIES

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Let's Help Kids Eat Healthy at School and at Home

This month is Childhood Obesity Month. Did you know obesity affects 13 percent of low-income children age 2-4 and 21.7 percent of youth age 10 – 17 in Mississippi?

Obesity is a complex disorder and a major health risk factor linked to increased cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and early death.1 To help our children become healthier, the American Heart Association advocates for policies that increase physical activity, improve nutrition and improve the health status of all Americans, such as implementing robust nutrition standards for meals and other foods available in the school environment.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act became law in December 2010, giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to update national nutrition standards for school meals and establish nutrition standards for other foods – referred to as competitive foods or smart snacks – sold on school campuses throughout the school day. The law strengthens local wellness policies by creating more accountability and better implementation. It also includes funding to help schools establish school gardens; and funding to help schools source local foods into their cafeterias. These provisions will help schools give children the jumpstart needed for long, healthy lives.

In Mississippi, 99 percent of school districts are successfully serving healthy meals that meet strong nutrition standards. Last year, this benefited 206,685 students who participated in the school breakfast program and 389,497 students who participated in the school lunch program.

What else can we do? Become educated on the issue, advocate for policy change, and take part in prevention. The American Heart Association has countless resources on to help parents and caregivers take control of their children's health. We understand it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, but just start with one small change TODAY.     

Helpful resources:


1 Flegal KM, et al. Association of All-Cause Mortality with Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index Categories. JAMA, 2013; 309: 71 – 82.  

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AHA, Aramark join on meals initiative

Aramark, the largest U.S.-based food service provider, has joined with the American Heart Association on a five-year initiative to make the meals it serves healthier. Changes will impact more than 2 billion meals served each year at schools, businesses, sports venues and elsewhere.

The initiative, called Healthy for Life 20 by 20, will implement a 20 percent reduction in calories, saturated fat and sodium and a 20 percent increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“Experts have estimated that if the American public increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet current public health recommendations, 127,000 lives could be saved each year,” said Al Royse, chairman of the AHA. “It’s essential that we make healthier options more easily available to consumers and empower them to choose these options for themselves and their families.”

Read the rest of the article on

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Carol Barnes, Mississippi Advocacy Chair

Guest Blogger: Carol Barnes

My name is Carol Barnes and I am serving as the new Chair of the Mississippi Advocacy Committee this year.  I am an Associate Professor at Mississippi College in the Kinesiology Department, and I’ve served on the Advocacy Committee for the past three years. During that time, I have witnessed so much progress made by the American Heart Association staff members, Katherine Bryant, Julie Howell and Elizabeth Williams, along with each of you who volunteer your time to continue to improve the quality of living of each Mississippian. 

I am very excited about this year, as we work to encourage our citizens to focus on healthy habits, prevention and education. Each of you can make a difference by reminding our lawmakers to make the right decision of making the health of our state, their priority.

While attending the American Heart Association Federal Lobby Day in Washington D.C., I realized that the progress made by the American Heart Association is truly having a positive impact on the health of our citizens today and for years to come.  We can’t stop now! With your help, we will someday have a society that focuses on healthy habits and reaps the benefits of this lifestyle. 

I would love to hear from you if you have any recommendations or questions. You may contact me at  It’s going to be a great year!

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Check Out the Fall Heart Walks in Mississippi!

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country's No. 1 and No. 5 killers - heart disease and stroke. Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that's fun and rewarding for the entire family.

This year, more than 1 million walkers will participate in nearly 340 events across the nation to take a stand against heart disease and help save lives. Here in Mississippi, the American Heart Association will host four Heart Walks in the fall. You’re the Cure will be present at the walks, asking attendees to join our efforts to make healthy foods more accessible across the state. With Mississippi being one of the most obese states in the nation, access to healthy foods is very important to reverse the trend.

We hope you’ll walk at your local Heart Walk with friends, family, coworkers or strangers you'll bond with along the way. Any way you choose to do it, your heart will thank you for it!

September 26 Jones County Heart Walk

Gardiner Park

701 North 4th Avenue, Laurel, Mississippi 39440

Activities Begin: 8:00am; Walk Begins at 9:00am

October 3 – Gulf Coast Heart Walk

Biloxi Shuckers Baseball Stadium

Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, MS 39530

Activities Begin: 7:30am; Walk Begins: 9:00am

November 7 – Forrest/ Lamar Heart Walk

Spirit Park at University of Southern Mississippi

118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Activities Begin: 8:00am; Walk Begins: 9:00am

November 7 – Metro Jackson Heart Walk

Mississippi State Capitol Building

400 High Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201

Activities Begin: 8:00am; Walk Begins: 9:15am

November 7 – Mid-South Heart Walk

Court Square Park

Corner of Court Avenue and 2nd Street

Downtown Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Activities Begin: 9:00am; Walk Begins: 10:30am

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Have you checked out the AHA store lately?

T-shirts, measuring bowls, jewelry and everything in between. This summer you can “Shop Heart” choose the best of AHA swag like cookbooks, apparel, and accessories.

You can help spread our message of heart health when you wear an American Heart Association t-shirt, jacket, lapel pin, or tie. In addition to great gear we also stock educational materials so you can share important heart and stroke prevention advice with family and friends. Best of all when you "Shop Heart" money spent supports the mission of the American Heart Association.

Check out the latest merchandise in the store and show your support for the AHA today. 

P.S.  – There is a limited edition You’re the Cure T-shirt in the store. But hurry, only a couple dozen remain!







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