American Heart Association - You’re the Cure

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Congratulations Spout Springs Elementary!

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Arnsdorff, Government Relations Director, Georgia


Elementary students at Spout Springs School of Enrichment are on the move, and winning well-deserved accolades. While helping others, they are learning to help themselves. Attendance is up, disciplinary actions are down, and test scores have improved. 


Participating for the first time in the American Heart Association's fundraiser, Jump Rope for Heart, the Flowery Branch school broke the Hall County record. Out of a student body of 825, more than 400 students donated and raised over $16,000. Jumping rope to slogans of Jump the Creek and Cross the Raging River, they learned the benefits of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle in preventing heart disease and strokes, while having fun. 


Presented with the Gold Award from the National Healthy Schools Program they became the first elementary school in the southeastern region to hold this distinction. Quite a feat considering it was only their third year in the program; their first year they won bronze, and the second year silver. For such an outstanding accomplishment their State Representatives, Rep. Butch Miller and Rep. John Wilkinson, sponsored a resolution in the Georgia General Assembly to honor the school.  


SR 446: A RESOLUTION commending Spout Springs School of Enrichment for being the first school in the State of Georgia and the entire southeast to be named an Alliance for a Healthier Generation 2014-2015 GOLD National Recognition School.


Working with the Alliance to implement the program’s Framework of Best Practices, the nutrition department and staff were offered technical assistance, professional development, tools, resources, and national experts for support. Teachers now intersperse healthy activities with their lessons, improving everyone’s day, including their own. 


To quote Tom Adam, their coach and a physical education teacher, “Working with the Alliance’s healthy Schools Program is life-changing. For me, and more importantly our students and their parents, it has been nothing less than a culture change for our community”.  Even the Parent Teacher Organization stopped selling unhealthy treats for fundraisers, instead promoting physical activity fundraisers.


Guided by their principal, Arlene Thomas, the school is living up to its mission to be a place of enrichment “where students are able to discover and develop their talents through active engagement in challenging and enjoyable learning experiences”. 


Spout Springs School is setting a standard for change in our country where 23 percent of children get no exercise, and obesity is touching even the very young.  By participating in the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, and the American Heart Association's Jump the Rope, the school has shown you can transform motion into measurable results. Congratulations, job well done. 

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How to Keep the Winning Game Going

You're the Cure on the Hill isn’t the only opportunity to connect with members of Congress! As their constituents, you have the power and the RIGHT to tell them at any time to step up to the plate on the heart and stroke issues you care about most.

Here are some tips for getting your lawmaker off the bench and into the game:


  • Follow them on social media and send them messages on issues you care about.
  • Sign up for their e-newsletters on their websites. This is a great way to learn about events where you can meet the lawmakers in person and stay informed.
  • Work with your local AHA advocacy staff to schedule an in-district meeting. Members of Congress come home throughout the year on recess breaks, so they use this time to meet with constituents back in the district. Take advantage of their time at home and schedule a meeting to discuss the heart and stroke issues that matter to you and your family.
  • Most importantly, take action year round. Watch your inbox for calls to action from You’re the Cure and continue engaging your lawmaker through emails, phone calls and tagging them in your social media posts.

We had a real impact this week, but we need to keep the momentum going. Let's keep reminding our members of Congress that they need to step up for heart health all year round!

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Advocacy Avengers Assemble - FAST!!!

Guest Blogger: Marc Watterson, Utah Government Relations Director

Each May we have an opportunity to celebrate and educate on an issue that is close to all of us – stroke. As we have shared in the past, Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Utah – and it doesn’t have to be. With your support we have improved the systems of care in Utah for how stroke patients are treated in our local hospitals. The success stories that we have heard are remarkable and it is all thanks to you!

Many more people in Utah are recognizing stroke symptoms in the community because of FAST. Can you name the stroke warning signs?

  • Face droopiness, numbness and weakness
  • Arm numbness and weakness
  • Slurred speech or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Time to call 911 if these or other symptoms occur

More and more Utahns are becoming aware of these signs and acting accordingly when they see them in themselves or others. But more can be done. Nationally, nearly one-third of all Americans still don’t know the signs of a stroke.

Building on the success of our past stroke awareness initiatives, we’re continuing our efforts to educate the public on FAST signs – and have a little fun –  by joining the University of Utah Health Care in a new “Together to End Stroke” community education program. 

We are hosting several events in Salt Lake this month in hopes of creating “Stroke Heroes” among us!

  • Stroke heroes know what the acronym F.A.S.T. means and can recognize a stroke and act quickly by calling 9-1-1.
  • During a stroke emergency, stroke heroes are the ones who may help make the difference between life and death or full recovery and permanent disability.
  • They're the heroes we all want to be, proudly saving lives and quality of life. They're the heroes we want all around us, ever ready to help if we need them.
  • This American Stroke Month, we're inviting ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds to become stroke heroes.

Stay tuned for future details! If you would like more information on these events or would like to help volunteer as a Stroke Hero please contact Erica Olson with the AHA|ASA at 

Together, with your help, WE ARE THE CURE for cardiovascular disease and stroke!


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May is Stroke Awareness Month

May brings the opportunity to discuss and educate on an issue that is more common than we want it to be – stroke. Stroke is the 6th leading cause of death in Washington yet only eight percent of those recently surveyed in the American Stroke Association/Ad Council Stroke Awareness Continuous Tracking Study could identify each letter in F.A.S.T., an acronym of the most common stroke warning signs.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • F - Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A - Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S - Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T - Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Learn the F.A.S.T signs and share them with your friends and family. When you are done quiz each other by taking the F.A.S.T quiz!

As part of stroke awareness month we also want to recognize the many Stroke Heroes in our communities. A Stroke Hero is a survivor who overcomes a stroke; a caregiver or healthcare worker goes above and beyond to help others recover; a community member inspired to improve the health of others. This May – American Stroke Month – we invite you to honor a Stroke Hero by submitting an inspirational story for a Stroke Hero Award. Please send details and a photo by May 20, 2015. Nominees will be featured on local and national social media. For submission details visit

Teaching people how to recognize a stroke and respond quickly is a primary goal of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic. So let’s educate and hopefully minimize the damage stroke does in our communities.

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May is American Stroke Month

Anyone can have a stroke and everyone should be ready.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke and every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. That is why The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is inviting all Americans to become Stroke Heroes by learning and sharing the warning signs of stroke, F.A.ST. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Recognizing and responding to a stroke emergency immediately can lead to quick stroke treatment and may even save a life. Be ready!

Here is how you can participate in American Stroke Month

  • Share the F.A.S.T. acronym with your friends, family and loved ones throughout American Stroke Month.
  • Share our F.A.S.T. Quiz to test your stroke knowledge.
  • Download our free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. mobile app to prepare you in case of a stroke emergency and to have easy access.

Go to to learn more about how you can get involved.




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Louisiana Twitter Chat, June 2nd

To celebrate National CPR Awareness Week and the one year anniversary of the Louisiana CPR in Schools bill, the Burke Cobb Act, the American Heart Association is hosting a statewide Twitter Chat on June 2 at 10 a.m. CST.

The Twitter Chat is an hour virtual conversation centered on CPR. It will feature a question and answer session between the host Twitter handle, @HeartNOLA, and any participants. The goal of the conversation is to bring awareness to the benefits of Hands-Only™ CPR, the need for more bystanders to be CPR trained and to celebrate the first graduating class in Louisiana under the Burke Cobb Act.  You can participate in the conversation using the event hashtag #LACPRWeek.

R.S.V.P. today at We hope you'll chat with us on June 2nd!

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Mississippi Secures Advocacy Win!

For the past several years, the American Heart Association has worked as part of the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance to develop STEMI and Stroke Systems of Care.

During the 2015 Mississippi Legislative Session, advocates helped secure an additional $250,000 dedicated to a STEMI System of Care, and an additional $250,000 to a Stroke System of Care. These new appropriations will be used to grow and strengthen the quality of care in Mississippi, including the development of a STEMI and Stroke Registry.

Dr. Harper Stone, GSA Board President and Chair of the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance, was a driving force in acquiring these appropriations.

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CPR SMART Schools Take Off in NYC!

It all started with Staten Island's Port Richmond High School back in February...they were honored as New York City's first CPR Smart school during American Heart Month.  Then came the Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn.  Not to be outdone, Manhattan achieved their first CPR Smart designation in April when Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics made their promise to train every student in basic CPR.  (See a great article here from our friends at El Diario - I've never sounded better! -  Then last week, two more schools from Brooklyn and Manhattan joined our growing list of city schools who are prioritizing this lifesaving training for all of their students.  Congratulations to the School for Human Rights (Brooklyn) and Cascades High School (Manhattan)! 

Here are some great photos of the presentation to these schools when they participated in our recent meeting of the NYC Board of Directors:

(Left - Board Chair, David Lefkowitz presents the CPR Smart recognition to The School for Human Rights representative Ariana Covington)

(Left - Board President, Dr. Larry Chinitz presents the CPR Smart designation to teacher James Walther of Cascades High School.)

And in case you missed them, here are links to the press coverage from our first two CPR Smart Schools:

Port Richmond -

Juan Morel Campos -

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Alabama Advocates Rally in Support of Healthy Food Access

Currently more than 1.8 million Alabamians, with nearly half a million being children, reside in communities with little or no access to fresh healthy food. To address the issue, the American Heart Association urges the Alabama Legislature to support the Healthy Food Financing Act. The legislation would encourage grocers to locate or expand in underserved communities with low-interest rate financing from private foundations, federal grants or state dollars. The Healthy Food Financing Act has passed the Senate and is in the House of Representatives.

To garner support in the House, the American Heart Association helped VOICES for Alabama’s Children organize Healthy Food Access Day at the Alabama State House on April 28. Approximately 75 people attended, including You’re the Cure advocates. Participants rallied in front of the State House in support of the Healthy Food Financing Act. Guest speakers included Melanie R. Bridgeforth, Executive Director for VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Sen. Clay Scofield, Rep. Tom Whatley and Rep. Darrio Melton. Folks also met with their legislators for more personal conversations about the importance of improving access to healthy food. View photos of the event at

To learn more about the Healthy Food Financing Act, visit

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South Dakota Youth Advocate in Washington D.C.

Reagan Spomer, a youth advocate for the American Heart Association, recently traveled to Washington DC to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House vegetable garden.  Reagan was chosen to participate in this event because she sits on the national board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  The goal of the project is to encourage youth to get involved in gardening and to encourage including vegetables as part of a healthy, daily diet.  For more on this story, CLICK HERE. 

Reagan will travel to Washington D.C. again in May to participate in the AHA's National Lobby Day where she and her Mom, Lynn Spomer, will visit with our congressional delegation about child nutrition and to encourage the continuation of guidelines that improve the nutrition of school lunches.  They will also advocate for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health for research. 


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