American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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CPR Saves Another Life

CPR is a key component to survival when sudden cardiac arrest occurs. Chances of survival from sudden cardiac are about 10% - but a victim has zero chance of survival if CPR is not administered right away.  Survival from sudden cardiac arrest shouldn't depend upon where it happens - and it can happen anywhere.  If everyone was trained in Hands Only CPR, imagine the impact that could have on survival of sudden cardiac arrest.  Mike Bartholomew is Why we are so passionate about CPR.  Read Mike's story HERE

We have an opportunity in Nebraska to put thousands of life-savers into our communities each and every year by ensuring all students are trained in CPR prior to their high school graduation. Almost anyone c12 years and older has the physical strength to perform Hands Only CPR, they just need the training.  What better place than in school than to train students how to save a life? 

What can you do?  Contact your senator and let the know you want kids to learn CPR in their schools.  Let's put Nebraska on the map with the more than 20 states to require CPR as a high school graduation requirement.  CPR is Why. Mike Bartholomew is Why. 


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Back to School, Back to Good Health!

With summer drawing to a close, back-to-school season not only is a time to stock up on supplies, it’s also an opportunity to encourage kids to eat healthy, be active and avoid secondhand smoke. The AHA recognizes that a smoke-free environment can promote children’s brain development, prevent addictions and lead to healthier lifestyles later on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  All forms of tobacco and nicotine are unhealthy — cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and e-cigarettes. So what can parents do to help ensure their kids are ready to learn when the school bell rings?  Read here for heart-healthy tips on going back to school. 

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Stroke is Why

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in our country, and certainly one of the leading factors leading to disability.  Stroke is why we are laser-focused on preventing stroke, knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, and knowing how to act immediately to get someone the care they need when stroke happens.  Stroke knows no age, gender, race or socio-economic group.  It's why we share stories of stroke survivors and the families impacted by stroke - to inspire others into action to ensure our public policy improves health outcomes when it comes to stroke.  Michelle McVeigh's story is one of inspiration and action.  Michelle McVeigh is why we do what we do.

Read Michelle McVeigh's story here. 

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Mom Becomes Heart, CPR Advocate After Losing her Son

Melinda Kentfield lost her son Taylor to cardiac arrest on September 10, 2013.  The 21-year-old junior at South Dakota State University had collapsed while jogging with two friends.  One friend ran to call 9-1-1 while the other stayed with Taylor. Several minutes passed before a police officer and then an off-duty paramedic arrived and initiated CPR.  Melinda has become a volunteer advocate encouraging Nebraska to join the growing list of states to teach CPR as a high school graduation requirement so that all students learn this life-saving skill before they graduate.  Melinda recently shared her story on the AHA's website. 

To read Melinda's story, CLICK HERE. 


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Local Column Outlines Status of Medicaid Expansion in State

The Nebraska legislature has twice considered expanding Medicaid in our state, and twice the proposal has been rejected.  The American Heart Association supports expansion of Medicaid because we believe it will become an important source of coverage for currently uninsured adults with or at-risk for cardiovascular disease. 

Recently, the Don Walton of the Lincoln Journal Start wrote a column that outlined the status of Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska and the outlook for this important program in the fight against cardiovascular disease. 

To read Don Walton’s column, CLICK HERE. 

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Advocate Spotlight: Jamie Schneider

Jamie Schneider Nebraska

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, taking the lives of one in three each year. Sometimes, that statistic does not seem alarming because it is easy to trick yourself into thinking that the one person will not be you. Heart disease is for other people. But as the youngest of three daughters, and the proud aunt to three nieces (the picture is me with my sisters, sister-in-law and two nieces at my wedding in November), the chances are that if it is not me, it will be someone I love. A family member. A friend. And it is scary to think of that.

The greatest opportunity I have had since joining the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association as the Nebraska communications director in January 2015 is the opportunity to share lifesaving information with the women (and men) I love – and so many people I will never meet. About 80-percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease are preventable. Life is why it is important to communicate about heart-health.

Every day when I come to work, I know I have the extraordinary opportunity to change someone’s life for the better. Whether it is connecting with a local journalist for a heart-healthy story on tonight’s broadcast or posting a stroke fact on our social media, I know there is a conversation happening in someone’s home, a conversation that helps save lives. I have never worked for an organization where people are so passionate and so empowered to make a difference. Life is why we have such a fire.

Being involved with the American Heart Association is truly a work of heart. With help from advocates like you, the moments that make life worth living are a reality for millions of people. People who are saved by heart research. People who are saved by F.A.S.T. People who are saved by CPR. People who are saved by Mission: Lifeline. People who are saved by Jump Rope for Heart. People are saved every day because of the American Heart Association. 

Numbers and statistics can be scary but silence is even scarier. Today, I encourage you to start a conversation about prevention of heart disease or stroke. I promise I will do the same. Together, we can further this life saving mission.

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Nebraska Legislative Session: Here's What Happened

The 2014-2015 fiscal year was a very successful year for accomplishing advocacy priorities.  In August, the regulation was finalized for critical congenital heart defect screening for newborns.  The regulation language includes pulse oximetry screening for all newborns.  More than 20,000 newborns are now screened in Nebraska with this life-saving procedure every year!

An additional $200,000 for tobacco prevention and cessation was appropriated and passed by the Governor and Legislature this year.  This is the first time since 2004 that there has been any increase in additional funding for tobacco prevention and cessation! 

Funding for cardiac monitors for our EMS services was also approved by the Governor and Legislature Cardiac monitors with 12-lead capability are critical in detecting the deadliest type of heart attack, known as a STEMI.  This appropriation will help to outfit more EMS rescue services with this life-saving equipment.

An interim stroke system of care study resolution was introduced by State Senator Kathy Campbell.  Despite significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability; and with the aging of the population, the number of persons who have strokes is projected to increase.  Forecasting by the American Heart Association predicts stroke prevalence to increase by 24.9% between 2010 and 2030.

These are just a few of the many successes this past fiscal year.  In the upcoming year, we will continue to advocate for all our high school students receiving CPR training, heart and stroke systems of care, and other priorities that reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.

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Advocate Spotlight: Corrie Kielty

Corrie Kielty Nebraska

Being a mom and now a grandmother, involves much more than day to day mom duties.  It means doing everything I can to make Nebraska, my lifelong home, a better place for children. Hopefully I’ve modeled Mahatma Gandhi’s profound advice to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Tobacco has gripped our family and broken our hearts in so many ways.  I began smoking at 11.  After several heart surgeries and too much pain, we watched my grandfather die a painful tobacco related death.

Fortunately, many in my family battled our addiction and won. I quit smoking at a young age using many of the resources now available to help break that addiction. Less people now use tobacco than ever before thanks to successful public health policies passed by American Heart Association.

But too many Nebraskans are still caught in the grips of tobacco addiction.  Today 20% of adults and 15% of youth smoke. It is essential that we continue to reduce these rates. There are 2300 people dying from smoking attributable deaths in Nebraska each year.

We know there are successful policies that have kept tobacco out of the hands of children.  Increasing the cost of tobacco, banning smoking in the workplace and other other successful policies have worked – but the work isn’t complete.

I will continue to participate in the American Heart Association’s Lobby Day, contact my elected officials about action alerts and talk with public officials about health policy. I do this because I know that nine of 10 people who smoke, started before the age of 18. If we can keep children from smoking, they won’t become an adult smoker. 

Working together we can keep children from smoking. We can keep children from exposure to second hand smoke. We can make those changes we wish to see in the world so that all of our children and grandchildren have a better place to live.

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Youth Get Involved in Tobacco Prevention

According to the CDC, Nebraska ranks 6th among 36 other states for youth who use tobacco (i.e., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and/or cigars).  The dangers of smoking are well-known.  Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits for you and your loved ones.

We were pleased recently to see youth in Columbus NE get involved with prevention strategies to ensure kids do not start smoking or using tobacco products.  No Limits is a youth-led tobacco prevention program that targets social change and was created through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. We applaud their efforts and encourage other communities to engage their youth in prevention strategies to keep kids from ever starting to use tobacco products. 

For more on this article, CLICK HERE

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Advocate Spotlight: Be Wary of Sneaky Salt!

Sneaky Salt

Become an advocate in our fight against sneaky Salt! Say NO to the higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other health problems linked to too much sodium.

Did you know that most Americans eat more than twice the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of sodium? Chances are, that includes you—even if you rarely pick up the salt shaker. Salt is sneaking up on us—mostly when we go out to restaurants or eat packaged foods. Check out this fun new 1-minute video to see for yourself:

This excess salt puts us at risk for elevated blood pressure which means an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Stand up for your health and pledge to reduce your sodium intake today! Take the pledge here: Don’t stop there…Encourage your family and friends to take the pledge, too.

Want more info? Check out our new website,, for a quiz, infographics, recipes and more. Thank you for standing strong against "sneaky Salt!"

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