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Advocate Spotlight - TJ Haynes

For TJ Haynes it was a matter of time. TJ recently threw out the first pitch at a Mustangs game in Dehler Park to promote the AHA’s Raise the Roof in Red campaign after suffering a heart attack just a few months before.

On May 25, 2015 TJ had gone to the local shooting range in preparation for the annual Quigley Buffalo Match. The days leading up to the 25th he had experienced heartburn and back pain but didn’t think much of it. But after a short period of time at the range he found himself short of breath and in pain.

He called his wife to tell her he wasn’t feeling well and asked her to come pick him up. While he waited another shooter at the range noticed his condition and quickly dialed 911 when he told them he was short of breath and experiencing chest pain.

Thanks to the quick actions of those around him TJ was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance containing a 12 lead EKG machine that sent a snapshot of his heart ahead to the Billings clinic. By sending this snapshot ahead the hospital was able to know what they were dealing with and how to treat it as soon as he arrived. This allowed his clogged artery to be opened just 46 minutes from the onset of the attack.

This amazing equipment had been installed just one day earlier as part of the Mission Lifeline initiative that is largely funded by a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Today TJ is doing much better. He is in cardiac rehab, is working on his diet and is overall doing well.

TJ is thankful for the actions of those around him and the technology that was available to help him when he needed it most.


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Advocate Spotlight - Brittany Badicke

Welcome Back Brittany!

Brittany Badicke is the newest advocate to join the AHA team, in an exciting role leading our new initiative, Oregon Kids Move with Heart. Brittany is the Regional Campaign Manager for our effort to get more kids physically active during the school day, and over the next year she’ll be working to support our partners at Beaverton School District.

During the summer of 2014, Brittany worked as an Intern with the Advocacy team. During her time with AHA, she built legislative support for evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs in key districts by educating legislators about the local program successes and current needs, and mobilized local public health experts and grassroots leaders to attend in-district meetings.

Brittany grew up in Longview, Washington and after graduating high school moved to Vancouver, Washington, became a Certified Nursing Assistant, and began pre-requisites for nursing school. Being intrigued by acute care, and with more opportunity to work in an acute care setting in Oregon, she earned her CNA II acute care license and moved to Portland, Oregon. Brittany had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings in just over three and a half years as a Certified Nursing Assistant, including: Assisted living, Medical Specialties, Oncology, and Skilled Nursing.

While working as a CNA and meeting several patients suffering from preventable diseases, she realized her passion is in health promotion and disease prevention, leading her to pursue a degree in health education. Brittany recently graduated from Portland State University with her Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education.

Over the last year she has also been a volunteer Referral and Care Coordinator at a local community health clinic where she has worked with a multidisciplinary team to provide support and link patients with necessary medical referrals. In her personal time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

We couldn’t be more excited to have Brittany (back!) on our team, and we know her tireless efforts will help hundreds of Oregon kids.

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Back to School Means New Opportunities to Move

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

The start of a new school year is a great time to highlight a few of our top advocacy priorities in Oregon. That’s because we’re focused on removing the greatest barriers to a healthy future for our kids. Today, 1 in 4 Oregon kids is overweight or obese, leading to heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and eventually, early death. This dangerous trend is caused in part by growing inactivity—consider this: Today’s kids are the most inactive generation in history.

That’s why the American Heart Association is dedicated to supporting physical activity for kids before, during and after the school day. Here are a few exciting efforts we’re working on:

-  BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL - Safe Routes to School: When kids can walk or bike to school, they can get over 60% of the daily recommended exercise needed for a healthy childhood. Unfortunately, many families lack the safe sidewalks, crosswalks and infrastructure to make walking or biking in their neighborhood an option. That’s why we’re part of growing effort called For Every Kid. These 30+ organizations are asking the Metro Regional Government to ensure every kid has a healthy future and the ability to safely walk, bike, or take transit to school. Please sign the letter to Metro Councilors asking for their support.

-  DURING SCHOOL - Physical Education & Activity: Kids spend most of their waking hours in school, so it’s important that they move a lot throughout the day to be healthy and to keep their minds ready to learn. Oregon Kids Move with Heart is an exciting new initiative made possible through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are working with the Beaverton School District during the 2015-2016 school year to support their efforts to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity, and to increase physical education and activity opportunities throughout the school day for K-8 students. Take a look at these photos from the recent kick off with Beaverton School District.

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New Initiative! Oregon Kids Move with Heart

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

Todays’ kids are less active than any previous generation—a dangerous trend since an inactive childhood is likely to lead to an unhealthy future filled with life-threatening chronic disease. Beaverton School District is dedicated to getting students moving more throughout the day, and along with the American Heart Association, will be working to support active students who are not only healthier but more focused and ready to learn.

This year, through the school district’s own investment as well as a grant-funded partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Heart Association, the Beaverton School District will be piloting some innovative efforts to increase physical education and activity throughout the school day.

A pilot project aimed at increasing physical activity at five participating schools is just one component of a plan originally put into action thanks to the leadership of the Beaverton School District’s Active Schools Task Force. The pilot program will train teachers to implement innovative strategies such as Brain Boosts to get kids more physically active throughout the school day.

Beaverton’s commitment to student health aligns with the mission of the American Heart Association, prompting the recent partnership. The American Heart Association will be working to support not only the district’s pilot project, but to enhance the district’s goals of increasing physical activity across the K-8 schools through its new initiative, “Oregon Kids Move with Heart.”

Check out photos from the kick-off of Oregon Kids Move with Heart.

Nationally known experts Scott Williams and Alex O’Brien will be working with Beaverton teachers during the upcoming in-service week before school starts.

Scott Williams is the 2013 AHPERD Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and the 2015 Virginia AHPERD K-12 Dance Educator of the Year.

Alex O’Brien, a trainer and Director of Film and Social Media with Focused Fitness. As a physical education teacher, he was instrumental in incorporating technology, social media and video into PE district wide.

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Oregon 2015 Legislative Session Wrap Up

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham

When our state leaders head to the capitol for the six month legislative session, they have a lot on their minds—not the least of which is the health of Oregonians. It’s the job of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and our allies in public health to ensure that decision makers know the most effective ways to improve the health of all Oregonians, and how to protect them from Oregon’s number one cause of death, cardiovascular disease, and our number one cause of preventable disability, stroke.

Oregon’s 2015 Legislative Session was a busy one for the AHA and our advocates. Here are the highlights:

  • CPR in Schools Passes: The AHA and a team of remarkable advocates led the charge to make Oregon the 23rd state to pass CPR in Schools legislation. Thanks to Senate Bill 79, all Oregon students will be trained in CPR before graduating, ultimately adding over 45,000 new lifesavers across every Oregon community. Thanks to all of the Oregon Legislature for unanimously supporting CPR in Schools, and a special thanks to Sen. Arnie Roblan, Sen. Mark Hass, Rep. Carla Piluso, Rep. Margaret Doherty, and Rep. Jeff Reardon for their leadership.
  • Improvements for Oregon’s School Food: The AHA supported continuing Oregon’s legacy as a leader in school nutrition by aligning our state’s school nutrition standards with the updated federal guidelines. House Bill 2404 will help ensure kids get the healthy food they need for a healthy future.
  • Funding for Tobacco Prevention: We helped to protect $4 million for fighting the harms of tobacco in Oregon. Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in Oregon, and our tobacco prevention programs have been effective at reducing consumption.
  • Funding for Physical Education: We helped to protect $4 million for PE in schools that will help schools hire teachers and get more active minutes into their day. This generation of kids is the most inactive in history, and it’s more important than ever that schools support healthy active living.
  • Increasing Access to Health Care: We helped pass a bill, House Bill 2468, that will put Oregon’s Insurance Division to work trying to make insurance plans more transparent and to help consumers access the care they need when they need it.

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New Stroke Guidelines Will Change Stroke Treatment in the U.S

Each year, more than 690,000 Americans have strokes caused by blood clots blocking vessels in the brain, called ischemic strokes. Some of the clots can grow large and may require intense therapy to treat.

However, widely celebrated new research reaffirms that large blood clots in the brain are less likely to result in disability or death, if the blockage is removed in the crucial early hours of having a stroke.

Right now the standard treatment is a clot-dissolving drug called tPA. But it must be given intravenously within 4.5 hours to be effective. For people with larger brain clots, tPA only works about a third of the time.

New studies recommend doctors to use modernized -retrievable stents, to open and trap the clot, allowing doctors to extract the clot and reopen the artery nearly every time when used with tPA.

To learn more read “Clot Removing Devices Provide Better Outcomes for Stroke Patients” and visit to learn the warning signs of stroke.

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Advocate Spotlight - Tim Gable

Meet Tim Gable, a young survivor who had a stroke at age 25 and spent his 26th birthday in the hospital.  Tim’s a new AHA/ASA volunteer who has become a key advocate for our upcoming Saving Strokes Event in Provo. Here’s Tim’s story…

My friends and I had decided to go on a short vacation for Easter weekend. On March 31, 2013 during breakfast I began feeling very dizzy and nauseous.  I informed my friends I was going to go lay down until I felt better. I was walking back to my room when suddenly my left leg would not hold my weight and I fell in the lobby.  I managed to pick myself up thinking what did I trip on? But I saw nothing. I made it to my hotel room door where I once again fell to the floor.  This time however I was unable to get back up and this was the first time I started to feel scared about what was wrong with me.  I lay on the floor just out of reach of the door.  I was there for 20-30 minutes before one of my friends came looking for me. 

He found me on the floor unable to get up.  He dragged me into my room and tried sitting me up but my body wouldn’t hold.  I kept falling over so my friend ran for help realizing something was wrong. He had another friend come and help him pick me up they then ran me out the back door into another friend’s waiting car.  They drove as quickly as possible to the nearest hospital emergency room.  When we arrived the hospital quickly took me in and diagnosed me with having a stroke. I was given TPA then put on an ambulance and rushed to another hospital that was better equipped to handle stroke. 

As soon as I arrived at the other hospital I was taken into surgery where they located the blood clot in my carotid artery in the right frontal lobe of my brain.  There were multiple attempts to remove the clot but every time it was removed it reformed and re blocked the blood flow. The surgeon tried everything he knew but he could not stop the clot from reforming, eventually it had to be left or the surgery was going to kill me.  The clot is still lodged in my head but I’m told there is no risk of it moving. 

The next day I awoke in the neural critical care unit with the worst headache.  Nurses were called in to check on me.  I was rushed to an MRI and it was determined that my brain was now swelling due to the damage done from the stroke and was pressing on the inside of my skull threatening more damage.  The surgeon gave my parents two choices they could remove a portion of my skull in an attempt to relieve the pressure or allow nature to take its course and allow me to pass away. The decision was made to have the bone flap removal surgery.  Which luckily worked and ended up saving my life. 

I spent two weeks in the neural critical care unit and was then transferred to another hospital where I immediately began occupational, physical and speech therapy each day for the next month and a half. My doctors pushed me to do as much therapy as possible due to my young age the more I did early on the more I had the chance of getting back. By the time I was released to go home I was able to walk on my own with little to no assistance.  I immediately started outpatient occupational, physical and speech therapy each day. I continued this for the next year continually improving until I was finally able to pass the driving tests and get my license back!

I returned to school and finished my degree in business management. During this time I felt the need to do more for people like myself who have suffered a stroke and recently participated in an event called Saving Strokes.  As a result I have become a volunteer for American Stroke Association and hope to build a career where I might be able to use my experience and story to help others.

For more information about the Saving Strokes program click here.

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Julien Comardelle - A Simple, Lifesaving Endeavor

My name is Julien Comardelle and I’m a student at West Linn High School. 

As a volunteer alongside Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, I have had the opportunity to go to my former middle school, Athey Creek, and teach the seventh grade class the simple but extremely important basics of CPR.

CPR is a very simple and easy-to-learn skill that unfortunately, few people feel the need to learn. Teaching CPR is a very simple endeavor. The students I have had the pleasure of working with have been very attentive during the lessons and focused during the applied exercises.

If students in Oregon are trained in CPR, there is now a greater chance that a person experiencing cardiac arrest will have access to CPR and survive. The current national average for survival for out of hospital cardiac arrest in 2014 was only 10.4% according to the American Heart Association.

CPR education is personally very important to me because my father had Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and he developed cardiac complications after chemotherapy.  In summer 2012 he had a cardiac arrest at home.  He was successfully resuscitated on the floor of our living room and that prolonged his life by two more years. As soon as my age permitted, I got fully CPR-certified. 

In my freshman year of high school I performed a research project for the Intel Science and Engineering Fair which compared CPR certification rates between Oregon and Louisiana. It was at the fair that I was approached by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and introduced to the project, which I am so honored to be a part of.

 Anyone can save a life and everyone should know how.

Julien testified on Senate Bill 79 in May 2015. Thanks to advocates like Julien, soon after, the bill passed the Oregon Legislature, requiring all students learn CPR before graduating.

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Doctor's Orders: Sign the petition for Every Kid!

This message is from Dr. Sergio Fazio, board member for the American Heart Association-Oregon and SW Washington and supporter of Safe Routes to School.

Kids get less physical activity than ever before, and the resulting prognosis is poor:
Today’s kids are the first ever to have a shorter life-expectancy than their parents.
As a physician in the Metro area, I see firsthand the devastating effects of kids who don’t get enough exercise. One in four Oregon kids are overweight or obese, leading to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension—a life plagued with preventable chronic disease. Most of the time, they don’t have the opportunity to get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise during the day. 
Creating safe routes to school for walking and biking would allow our kids the opportunity to get much needed physical activity they need to live a long, healthy life. 
Unfortunately, the kids who most need exercise often have the least opportunity to get it.
You and I can change that.
Together, we can urge Metro Council to make streets safe around our schools, and to ensure students and families receive education on how to walk and bike safely as part of a daily routine.  This alone would help kids get 60% of their recommended daily physical activity. 
Join me in signing the petition and asking Metro Councilors to fund Safe Routes to School for every kid. 
There’s no time to wait.

Thank you,
Sergio Fazio MD, PhD

Dr. Fazio is an expert in metabolic diseases and preventive cardiology, and serves on the board of the American Heart Association-Oregon and SW Washington.

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Another City Council for Safe Routes to School

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

On June 22nd, the Forest Grove City Council joined the call for a region-wide “Safe Routes to School” initiative to serve every kid in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah counties by unanimously passing a resolution calling on the Metro Regional Government to act.

This makes Forest Grove the fourth city in the Metro region and the third in Washington County to call for increased action to improve the health of kids by making communities safer for walking and biking. Tigard, Milwaukie, and Beaverton adopted similar resolutions in the spring.

Metro Councilors have the opportunity in the coming year to allocate funding to create region-wide safe routes to school.

Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington represents part of Washington County—a county where more than 70% of 8th graders do not get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the 2013 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey.

"For me Safe Routes to School is about how important it is for us to ensure that youth in our community experience a healthier, better world,” said Metro Councilor Katheryn Harrington. “And even more, people of all ages will reap multiple benefits from providing safe routes in our communities."

Research shows that kids who most need opportunities for physical activity don’t have the necessary safe infrastructure—sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes—in their neighborhoods and around their schools to support a healthy childhood.

Lack of physical activity is a leading contributing factor for obesity, diabetes and heart disease—a problem for Oregon, where one in four kids is overweight or obese.

In the last year, thousands of parents and community members from around the Metro region have signed petitions and sent emails in support of a region-wide Safe Routes to School initiative as a solution for their families.

You can sign the petition here.

Join us in asking Metro to make Safe Routes to School for 150,000 kids in every school district in the Metro area.

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