American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Advocate Spotlight: Nebraska Advocacy Volunteer Summit

Meet our top active, committed and hero volunteers that recently attended our "Advocacy Volunteer Summit, 2015". It has always been important to us to recognize and show them how thankful we are for their help in the fight against heart disease and stroke, so we decided to implement a new advocate recognition program.

Our goal is to give our top advocates an opportunity to network with others from across their state, get the inside scoop on our local and federal legislative efforts, allow us to share our mission and goals with them, work with them to help tell their stories in a quick and impactful way and help them gain an understanding of their role in the legislative process.

Another benefit to being a top advocate is that they receive access to our insider perks! Some of these perks include insider calls where they will get the inside scoop on what’s happening under the dome, invites to special events and trainings held throughout the year like our advocacy summits and first consideration to attend national events like our National Lobby Day on the Hill in Washington DC.

We had a fun and informative day at this year's Advocacy Volunteer Summit!  I hope you will be able to join us next year by earning points to become a top advocate, Here’s how.

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Another Nebraska School Receives CPR Training Kits

Students is the Northwest School District are learning the life-saving skill of CPR.  And while it’s good to know the proper technique, the training also provides students with the confidence to know they would know what to do if someone needed CPR. 

CPR training kits were recently donated to the Northwest Public Schools through the American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools initiative. The kit is designed to help teach students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Five schools in the Northwest Public Schools district will share the kit, and it will be used to train students at Cedar Hollow, St. Libory, Chapman, and Northwest High School, as well as 1-R. 

Eighty percent of all cardiac arrest cases occur outside of a hospital setting.  When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, there is only about a 7% chance of survival.  However, if CPR is introduced, the survival rate can double or even triple. 

Matt Fisher, superintendent of Northwest Public Schools, said all of the district’s teachers are trained in CPR “because we think it’s a critical skill.”

For more on this story, CLICK HERE.  

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Project Aims to Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Defects

February, Heart month, is just around the corner, and we need your help!  Hospital across Nebraska are participating in the Little Hats, Big HeartsTM project to raise awareness of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country. If you knit or crochet, you can help!  Our goal is to collect hundreds of hats, one for each baby born at participating hospitals in February 2016. If you knit or crochet, you can help us reach our goal.

The word "congenital" means existing at birth. The terms "congenital heart defect" and "congenital heart disease" are often used to mean the same thing, but "defect" is more accurate.

The heart ailment is a defect or abnormality, not a disease. A defect results when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don't develop normally before birth. Working with your healthcare team, learn about the different types of congenital heart defects, treatments and tests.

In Nebraska, every newborn is screened for congenital heart defects using a test called pulse oximetry prior to going home from the hospital.  This new law helps to detect congenital heart defects and saves lives. 

For information on the Little Hats, Big HeartsTM project, CLICK HERE

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Advocacy Spotlight: Alaina Monroe

I was born March 1st 1989. Right after I was delivered the doctor shouted “It’s a girl!  And we don’t know what’s wrong with her.” There was one layer of skin covering my chest, my sternum was not properly developed.  The condition is called a cleft sternum.

They immediately took me into surgery. They quickly discovered I had Tetrallogy of Fallot. This is a congenital heart defect where 4 major things are wrong with the heart. There was a hole between the two lower chambers (ventricular septal defect, VSD), an overriding aorta (the aorta sits between the lower chambers instead of on the left side), hypertrophy of the right ventricle and right ventricular out flow tract stenosis (narrowing). I also had a hole between the two upper chambers (atrial septal defect) and my coronary arteries (the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle) were developed differently. Because of my defect my body wasn’t getting enough oxygenated blood. Leaving me cyanotic (blue), fatigued easily and unable to eat enough food to nourish my body and grow. Right after I was born, since I was an infant, they could only do so much to my heart because of its size. I was in the hospital for months with tubes and wires attached to me all over my body. The doctors told my parents to prepare for the worst.

I came out of the first surgery alright. I was able to go home. But two weeks after I went home I was back in the hospital as a failure to thrive baby. I didn’t have the energy to eat long enough to nourish my body. So I was placed with a feeding tube. My mother would *** feed me until I got tired. She would pump the rest and put it in the feeding tube. This solved the problem and my feeding tube was eventually removed. The doctors knew I would have to have another surgery to fix the rest of the heart issues and told my parents they would know when it was time.

At 15 months old I started to have “tet” spells where I would cry and then faint from it because my body, again, was not getting enough oxygenated blood. I would also turn blue. It was at that time they did my second surgery to close the holes in my heart.

I am now a thriving 26 year old woman who is engaged and training to be an echocardiogram technologist. I have to follow up with my congenital cardiologist every year to see how my pulmonary valve is holding up. There may be a future surgery to repair or replace the valve depending on how dysfunctional it becomes. But right now, my fiancé and I are living life to the fullest and plan to continue to do that. I am also passionate about helping others with heart conditions. If anyone has any questions or would like to vent about what they are going through, I would be happy to chat with them! Please feel free to contact me

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Bystander Saves Woman with CPR

We hear it often - someone's life is saved because a bystander knew CPR. When CPR is administered immediately when sudden cardiac arrest happens, it can double or even triple that person's chances of survival.  We know it t happens across the country because we hear the stories.  It also happens right here in Nebraska. 

A Lincoln hairstylist used the training she received 8 years ago to save the life of a woman in her salon.  READ STORY HERE. 

We encourage Nebraska to join the growing list of states that require Hands Only (bystander) CPR training as a high school graduation requirement.  A woman's life was saved because of training a young woman received 8 years ago.  Imagine the lives that could be saved if everyone knew how to perform CPR? 

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Lexington School Gets Life-Saving CPR Kits

Lexington School District is the first in Nebraska to receive CPR training kits as the result of a partnership with the Lexington Regional Health Center.  The kits are intended to help schools train their students how to save a life using CPR.  Hospital board president Kerry Teetor, who is also a member of the volunteer fire department, told students how important CPR training can be when attempting to save a life. He also joked that the fire department would like to see all the students in the classroom join up. With shortages nation wide of trained EMS professionals, in addition to saving lives, CPR training can inspire young people toward health careers, specifically paramedic and EMT careers. 

For more on this story, CLICK HERE

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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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Be Inspired! Share Your Story!

Share Your Story

The mission of the American Heart Association is relevant to everyone.  Every one of us has been impacted in some way by heart disease or stroke.  The impact of the AHA connects to millions of stories - stories of survival, stories of loss and families who inspired others to make a difference in fighting heart disease and stroke.  YOU have the capacity to inspire others and move them to action when it comes to reducing the impact of heart disease and stroke in our communities. 

One of the best ways to inspire others to action is to SHARE YOUR STORY!  Stories help make the connection between what it is we want to do with WHY it's important for us to do it!

Every month in The Advocacy Pulse, we share the story of a volunteer, survivor, caregiver or volunteer advocate who is using their experience to make a difference in cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention, treatment, and survival.  We know because we hear from our readers that these stories not only inspire others into action, but it lets our readers know they are not alone and that others have had similar experiences.  We hear them say that sharing their story helped to gain understanding, provide education, and encourage others to share their stories as well. 

Be INSPIRED!  Share your Story here so that we can share it with our readers.  Sharing our stories is Why, and Life is Why! 


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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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