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
Will you help influence scientific research?

We need to hear from consumers like you as the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) partner together on the future of research. Your experience could lead to the next research study to improve heart disease and stroke treatment.

As an advocate we’ve asked you to speak out for increased funding for medical research and you’ve answered by contacting lawmakers and sharing your personal stories as survivors, caregivers, and loved ones touched by heart and stroke disease. Now we invite you to share your experience, the decisions made in determining your or your loved one’s treatment plans and the factors that influenced those decisions. If we better understand your experience it can help guide the research that will lead to better care tailored to the specific needs of patients.

If you’ve had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, or you know a loved one who has, your unique understanding could help guide research to solve un-met care challenges faced by individuals like you and improve heart and stroke treatment.

Here are the details:

  • We are focused on un-met challenges faced by patients and caregivers like you. 
  • To join this challenge, you’ll be asked to provide a written submission of your first-hand experience after a heart disease or stroke event.
  • The story and description of the concerns you faced and the decisions you made should be personal and not a general case.
  • A team of scientific professionals and patient representatives with expertise in heart disease and stroke will review your story. Learning more about issues and concerns important to your decision-making can help them improve experiences and outcomes for patients in the future.
  • If your submission is chosen, you could win $1,000 and possibly help shape the future of cardiovascular research.
  • All submissions must be received by June 8, 2016.

Please take this important challenge and share your insights. Your story matters. Take the challenge today!

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Thank you, Oklahoma Heart Walk Volunteers!

Oklahoma Volunteers Rock!  Thank you to all of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Heart Walk advocacy volunteers that supported our You're The Cure recruitment efforts at the April 9th and April 23rd events.  With teams of 10 advocacy volunteers we recruited a record-breaking number of advocates and gained support for our campaign in Oklahoma to create quality physical education and nutrition standards in early child care centers.  

If you would like to learn more about our next volunteer opportunity in Oklahoma please email, and we will find a volunteer opportunity that will fit your needs and your schedule!

Thanks again, Oklahoma!

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Meet Jarrid Garcia: Our Heart All-Star

Jarrid Garcia joined the Little Rock, Arkansas office as an Advocacy Intern in early 2016.  During his time on staff, Jarrid has supported the team at many successful events including the Go Red For Women Survivor Gallery unveiling at the Arkansas State Capitol, Strike Out Stroke Night with the Arkansas Travelers baseball team and a variety of community events.

As Jarrid leaves the AHA to graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock we will all miss his commitment to our advocacy efforts at the American Heart Association, and hearing updates on the success of the UALR baseball team, where Jarrid is a rock star pitcher!


Hometown: Whitehouse, Texas

Current City: Little Rock, Arkansas

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting

Hobbies: Golf

Pets (ages and names): Brian, Yellow Lab, 9

Role model: My father

Greatest achievement: Playing baseball at Division 1 level

Two celebrities or historical figures you would want to have dinner with (living or not) and why them?
Comedians John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell. These two, in my opinion, make some of the funniest movies together and it would be hilarious to have dinner with them and see how they act.

Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?
I enjoy using my time in order to help the current and future health of the people that live within my community.

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AHA President Says: The Science is Clear on Sodium Reduction

Check this out! In a new video, the President of the AHA, Dr. Mark Creager, explains that the science behind sodium reduction is clear. He says that robust evidence has linked excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. And, he points out that you can do something about it: join AHA’s efforts to demand change in the amounts of sodium in our food supply.

“Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager. The video shows the 6 foods that contribute the most salt to the American diet: breads & rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches."

To see the video, head over to our Sodium Breakup blog!

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Advocacy Volunteers Needed: Tulsa Heart Walk

We have an exciting volunteer opportunity coming up in your backyard, and we would love to have you there!

On Saturday, April 23rd, the American Heart Association will host the Tulsa Heart Walk at the ONEOK Field. Volunteer opportunities are available between 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. We will be at the event promoting the mission of the AHA and we'd be honored to have volunteers there to help us do this! You can help make a difference during this important event.

Mark your calendar today and please CLICK HERE to sign-up as an advocacy volunteer!

We hope to see you there!

For more information please contact Allison Hogue at

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Meet Jessica Westerman

Please meet Jessica Westerman, an amazing American Heart Association advocate that commits time and passion to support the Advocacy Team in our Little Rock, Arkansas office.  Most recently as a resident of Bryant, Jessica has been helping on our Smoke-Free Bryant campaign. 

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Hobbies: Spending time with family & friends, traveling, watching & attending Razorback football games

Kids: Addison (daughter-8 )and Mackenzie (daughter-4)

Pets: Mollie (Maltipoo) and Lindsay (Pekingese pug mix)

Two celebrities I’d like to have dinner with: Julie Andrews & Kenny Chesney


Why is advocating with the AHA important to you?

”Advocating with the American Heart Association is very important to me, because heart disease and stroke have affected my family. My mom had a stroke in 2009 and thankfully fully recovered. My maternal grandmother died after having a stroke and my maternal grandfather had heart disease for 35+ years before he passed away.

Another reason I’m so passionate about volunteering with AHA is that I was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of four abnormalities of the heart; such as a hole in the septum, narrowing of the pulmonary valve, a thick right ventricle and an overriding aorta. I had surgery to correct these abnormalities at birth and 1 year old. I am blessed to be healthy today and haven’t had a valve replacement yet.

I used to be self-conscious about my scar from my open heart surgeries. But, I learned over the years to be proud of that scar. It shows that I am a survivor and it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and bring about awareness of Tetralogy of Fallot. I love volunteering with the American Heart Association and feel like I’m helping make a difference to bring about awareness of heart disease and stroke.”

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Volunteers Needed: OKC Heart Walk

We have an exciting volunteer opportunity coming up in your backyard, and we would love to have you there!

On Saturday, April 9th, the American Heart Association will host the Oklahoma City Heart Walk at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Volunteer opportunities are available between 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. We will be at the event promoting the mission of the AHA and we'd be honored to have volunteers there to help us do this! You can help make a difference during this important event.

Mark your calendar today and please email Chancen Flick at to volunteer!

We hope to see you there!

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Meet Kari & TK

In our Volunteer Spotlight this month we would love for you to meet TWO of our Oklahoma Grassroots Action Team members:

Name: Kari Stender, M.P.H. (pictured on right)

Hometown: Sioux City, IA-but I've lived in Oklahoma for 9 years

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Exercising-especially running. Oh! Camping too!

Favorite Concert: Backstreet Boys...hands down

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Languages. I speak Spanish and English fluently but I'd love to add more languages. I love travelling so knowing many languages would make that a lot easier!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I love the many initiatives AHA is working on to make our communities healthier. I believe that everyone has the right to good health and AHA is working towards eliminating barriers that might stand in the way.

Name: TaKisha "TK" L. Lovelace (pictured on left)

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

Favorite activity when you’re not at work: Hanging out with my family

Favorite Concert: The Hopeville Tour featuring Yolonda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, and Kirk Frankiln

If you could be an expert in anything what would it be and why? Relationships. Because we all need a great support group to help us function to the best of our ability!

Why are you involved with/care about the AHA?: I got involved with AHA because of the commitment it has to building communities and spreading awareness to help us all become better people.

Thank you so much to both of these ladies for being rock star advocates for heart health in Oklahoma! 

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OKC Sweethearts Day at the Capitol

The American Heart Association (AHA) Oklahoma City office hosted their annual Sweethearts Day at the Capitol on March 1. This event is part of the annual Sweethearts program to develop future heart health advocates. 44 Oklahoma high school sophomore girls participated in trainings, lobby activities, and heard from various elected officials on the importance of heart health and advocacy.

The day began with an introduction by Terri Bailey, AHA Senior Director of Social Events, about the history and importance of the  day. Chancen Flick, Government Relations Director, then gave a training on the legislative process, the issues that AHA were promoting at the state level, followed by a roleplaying exercise on speaking with elected officials. Allison Hogue, Affiliate Grassroots Director, addressed the Sweethearts on the use of social media to make an impact on legislative action.

The Sweethearts then had a photo opportunity with Governor Mary Fallin, who was kind enough to spend a few minutes on a busy election day to discuss the importance of public health and advocacy. Instead of a traditional Capitol tour, the Sweethearts participated in a ‘selfie scavenger hunt’ by finding key locations and artwork in the Capitol building, taking a selfie and posting to social media. 

Representative Cyndi Munson spoke to the Sweethearts during the afternoon session. Munson, a Sweetheart alumni herself, addressed public health concerns and the need for young advocates to stand up and make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens. The Sweethearts conducted office visits with members and staff of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The day closed with the 2016 Sweetheart Class being recognized by the Senate and receiving personal citations from their Senators in the Senate lounge thanking them for their service.

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Go Red For Women Day at Oklahoma State Capitol

On Thursday, February 4th, the American Heart Association (AHA) held the annual Go Red For Women Day at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. In attendance were thirteen volunteers, including one Grassroots Action Team member and several Passion Committee members.

The day began with breakfast before volunteers moved to the gallery in the House Chamber for presentation of the “Wear Red Day” Resolution. Representative Lee Denney, the Speaker Pro Tempore, was kind enough to serve as author the resolution, present it to the House of Representatives, and recognize AHA volunteers that the Capitol. Additionally Amy Baden, State Advocacy Committee Chair, Amanda Rowell, AHA Advocacy and Go Red volunteer and heart disease survivor, Mistie Adair, AHA Go Red volunteer and heart disease survivor, Jill Castilla, Go Red for Women Co-Chair, and Shelly Jordan, Go Red Director, were recognized from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Afterwards, the entire Women’s Caucus of the House of Representatives joined the AHA for a group photo in the Capitol Rotunda. From there, an advocacy training on how to meet with lawmakers and a review of our legislative priorities was conducted. The group was very involved and offered great questions and thoughts regarding the AHA’S public policy issues. The training was culminated by Governor Mary Fallin addressing the AHA’s group to discuss both women’s health and what health issues her office was prioritizing for the legislative session. She then joined in a group photo with AHA volunteers and staff. The volunteers then split into smaller groups to have meetings with their elected officials. Feedback from everyone pointed to very successful meetings with state representatives and senators.

We offer a big thank you to all the volunteers and staff that made this day a great success!

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