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
We're Missing Half the Party!

Happy holidays! You may or may not have known that November 4th was National Eating Healthy Day, but did you know that for 62% of Oklahoma City, it’s a day that is nearly impossible to celebrate? Over half of OKC has low access to healthy and affordable foods, meaning that these necessary options are either too far away or too expensive for our residents. In fact, according to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Community Health Status Assessment, OKC is ranked second in the nation for worst cities for food access!

But we can change that! Take action to increase access to healthy foods now!

Here in Oklahoma City we are currently working to increase access to healthy foods across our city through a Healthy Corner Store initiative. This initiative would focus on partnering with local and existing corner store owners to increase the selection of healthy food being offered. Increasing access in our city would provide thousands of children and families with the foods they need to lead healthier and more thriving lives.

You can help bring healthier foods to your neighborhood by sending a letter to your councilmember and letting them know that access matters to you and to our city!

We need your voice to make our city healthier. Take action now!  

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Mozart: Good for the Heart?

For centuries, listeners of classical music have remarked about its uplifting and inspirational nature. Now, however, researchers in Greece say it might have a measurable effect on cardiovascular health. In reporting initial findings earlier this year in the journal Atherosclerosis, Charalambos Vlachopoulos of the Athens Medical School reported that subjects who listening to music saw decreases in aortic stiffness and wave reflections, and that classical music listeners saw the greatest effects.

“This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, to demonstrate that music, both classical and rock, decreases aortic stiffness and wave reflections,” wrote the researchers. In the case of this study, effects on aortic stiffness lasted as long as music was playing, and effects on wave reflections extended beyond, even as much as 30 minutes after the music was stopped. Both are causes of high blood pressure and increased strain on the heart.

While the study was quite small and more research is required to determine the overall effects that music might have on cardiovascular health, it is an intriguing first look at a new avenue for improving health by simply pressing “play.”

**Above article was written by Chris Willuhn, Advocacy Aide.

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Meet Catalina Berry, Our You're the Cure Champion

This month our Advocate Spotlight features Catalina Berry, a You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Member. Catalina has been raising her voice in support of healthy living. With her dynamic personality and passion for traveling and fitness, it has been a pleasure getting to know Catalina. It's advocates like Catalina who help us affect change in communities throughout the state. Read below to learn more about You're the Cure Champion! 

Name: Catalina Berry

Occupation: Outreach Coordinator for Seton Health Plan Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program

How long have your been volunteering with the American Heart Association:  I have been involved for 5 years but I've been more involved in the past 6 months.

Why do you advocate for heart: I like giving back to the community in general but American Heart Association has a deeper meaning for me because my daddy suffered and fortunately survived a massive heart attack in 2005. 

What is something in your life that you love: So many things! My family, exercising, giving back, friends, food! I love everything! :)

What is your all-time favorite thing to do on your time off: spend time with my family or workout 

What excites you most about advocating on local campaigns? Having my voice be heard and be able to make an impact on issues that are so important. As a Latina I want to help be a voice for a community that may not always be heard. 

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You're the Cure Advocate Pkaye Washington is Selected as National Spokesperson for Go Red for Women!

Longtime You're the Cure advocate and Grassroots Action Team Chair, Pkaye Washington, was selected as a member of this year's “Real Women,” national spokespeople for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. These nine women from across the country will share their personal stories and encourage women to take a proactive role in their health by knowing their family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit.

Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, yet it’s 80 percent preventable. One risk factor that cannot be prevented is family history. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 95.7 percent of study respondents considered knowledge of family history important to their personal health. The startling truth, though, is that only 36.9 percent reported actively collecting health information from their relatives.

“I’m living proof that knowledge is power,” said Pkaye Washington. “By knowing your family history and scheduling a Well-Woman Visit, you could be taking action today that could save your life tomorrow.”

Washington, who lives in Austin, Texas, has been living with heart disease for more than two decades. She was diagnosed with Class II heart failure in 1992, following what she thought was a bout of the flu. She’d gone to the hospital after realizing she was consistently short of breath.

It was a startling revelation for Washington, then 36, whose mother had been diagnosed with advanced heart failure and would soon need a heart transplant. Her grandmother had died from fluid around the heart when her mother was only four years old. Shock gave way to depression, followed by a resolve to make changes.

Washington now encourages women to empower themselves when it comes to their health, and to seek support from others. For the past 2 years she has supported the American Heart Association by serving as a spokesperson and an advocate for the You’re the Cure network.  She became involved with the organization when she was crowned Ms. Texas Classic and the American Heart Association was her chosen non-profit.  Currently, Washington volunteers her time as the Chair for our Austin Grassroots Action Team, where she has helped build healthier lives and communities by being a part of successful efforts to pass both state and local heart health policies. She has also been an advocate for our You’re the Cure on the Hill, traveling to Washington DC to meet with her members of Congress.
Pkaye’s story shares one common thread with the other 8 national spokeswomen– knowing your family history is important and discussing it with a health care professional is key to taking steps to prevent heart disease and stroke.

About Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Women who Go Red live healthier lives. For more than a decade Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunity for women. We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health. Our future is focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives. When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, it’s time to put our hearts into it.  Take action at

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!


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New State of Obesity Report Released & It's Not Good News for Oklahoma

According to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s report, titled “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” nearly 1 in 3 Oklahomans is obese. The report found that our state has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation at 33%. In fact, this year Oklahoma moved from the state with the 7th highest obesity rate to the 6th. This is not an area we want to lead. 

These statistics are staggering, however, these numbers cannot change until we break down the barriers to health.  Oklahoma ranks 2nd in the nation for cities with the worst food access (1). This means that for many in our city eating healthy foods is not just a difficult choice, it’s one that doesn’t exist.

One way we can combat this is by making healthy foods accessible in neighborhood corner stores and convenience stores. By increasing access to healthy foods in our neighborhoods we can help make the healthy choice the easy choice for many in our city.

Act now to ask City Council to support a healthier Oklahoma City!

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Text "ACTIVE" to 52886 to Join the Movement for Healthier Kids

September is nationally recognized as Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness with families across the country, we are asking You're the Cure advocates, family, and friends to add your voice in support helping kids and families live heart-healthy lives.

Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood.

Use these resources to help you understand childhood obesity and what you can do to fight it.

  • Text "ACTIVE" to 52286 to receive updates about advocacy efforts to combat childhood obesity on a federal, state, and local level.
  • Understanding Childhood Obesity is an American Heart Association sourcebook on child nutrition and physical activity. Both the full and condensed downloadable PDF versions are an update of the 2005 version.
  • AHA Recommendation - Overweight in Children - Obese children are more likely to be obese adults. Successfully preventing or treating overweight in childhood may help reduce the risk of heart disease, adult obesity and other complications.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Physical Activity and Children - Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
  • AHA Scientific Position - Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children - The American Heart Association has specific healthy dietary guideline recommendations for all adults and children over the age of 2 years. more


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Meet Amanda Rowell, You're the Cure advocate

When it comes to fighting heart disease and stroke, Amanda Rowell is leading the way.

Name: Amanda Rowell
Occupation: Teacher at CKLC
How long have you been volunteering for the American Heart Association: Almost a year now.
Why do you advocate for the heart: My father passed away at the age of 30 from cardiac arrest, my mother has suffered a heart attack, and I had a massive heart attack at the age of 32 after having a baby. I advocate for the heart for everyone I know living with heart disease and the ones who have passed away from heart disease. I also advocate for the heart for my children and their futures. I believe people need to know the facts about heart disease.
What is something in your life that you love: I love waking up to a brand new day each morning with my children and my husband. I love being given the opportunity to share my heart story with others and help raise awareness about heart disease.
What is your all time favorite thing to do on your time off: I love spending time with my family and making memories to last a lifetime. Family is very important to me. Every moment I have with them is precious. 
What excites you most about the NIH Rally: Being given the opportunity to let my voice be heard through speaking with congressmen and having the ability to advocate for change and continuing research for the heart and 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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