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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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What's the best and worst in your neighborhood?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This message is from Trey, age 7. He goes to an elementary school in Milwaukie, OR. You can see him in this video speaking out for safe streets For Every Kid!

“I need a safe way to walk and ride my bike to school. Walking to school is fun and it’s good for me. I want to walk and bike, but I can’t.

Here’s what my walk to school looks like: 

You can help make safe routes for me and my brother and all kids so that we can stay healthy every day. Thank you.

Trey Niggeman, Age 7 (almost 8!)
___________________________________
You can help by taking a picture like Trey did!

It’s simple: If neighborhoods aren’t safe, kids are missing out on more than just fun—they’re missing out on the physical activity they need to be healthy. And there’s no better place to start making improvements than around our local schools. That’s why the #ForEveryKid campaign is asking Metro Councilors to make sure every kid has a safe route to walk, bike, or access transit to school.
 
Now let’s show them what we’re talking about: Share the best and worst of your neighborhood on social media for the next 10 days to highlight your safety needs.
 
Step 1: Take pictures of the best and/or worst in your neighborhood—walking your dog, on your trip to school, biking to the park, waiting for the bus, etc. Show your safest places and your least safe places.
 
Step 2: Post the photos on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. You can post them on your personal accounts (just make sure the privacy is public so we can see them). Or post them on ours at www.facebook.com/foreverykid or https://twitter.com/ourhealthysts. Tag the photos #foreverykid.
 
Step 3: Give yourself a high five! Your actions will help make safe routes to school for every kid.
 

We’ll show decision makers your experience trying to walk, bike or access transit to school by sharing your photos. You have the power to make Safe Routes to School a priority in upcoming funding decisions.  Every kid deserves a chance at a healthy future. Help us show Metro Councilors what it is really like out there. Show us your best and worst!
 
Post your pictures and help us reach 150,000 kids with Safe Routes to School programs at every school district in the Metro-area.  
 
Thank you!

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It's Unanimous! CPR in Schools Legislation Passes Oregon Legislature

Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director 

If you suffer sudden cardiac arrest, your best chance at survival is receiving bystander CPR until EMTs arrive. But most do not. That’s a reality that’s about to change in Oregon.

On May 28th, Senate Bill 79, a bill that would require all Oregon students to be trained in CPR before graduation successfully passed out of the Oregon House of Representatives. This milestone marked the last vote for the “CPR in Schools” legislation, and continued the bill’s track record of broad support. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown where it will await her signature.

SB 79 is a major victory for Oregonians. It will help create 45,000 new lifesavers a year by ensuring every student learns the simple, life-saving skill of CPR. This is important because each year, nearly 424,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, and only 10.4% of these victims survive. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen any place, at any time—4 out of 5 in the U.S. happen at home.

However, CPR is easy to learn and simple. After calling 9-1-1, push hard and fast in the center of the chest at 100 beats per minute. When a CPR-trained bystander is near, they can double, even triple these victims’ survival rates by giving victims the help they need until the EMTs arrive.

The success of the bill is due to dozens of dedicated advocates who spoke up by meeting with legislators, testified in the State Capitol, and shared their expertise and stories. It is also due to the hundreds of Oregonians who signed letters to legislators, calling for action.

A special thanks to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Joanne Hatch, Chief Mike Duyck, Piseth Pich, Valley Catholic Middle School, Herb Lommen, Raoul Meekcoms, Jennifer Stafford, Legacy Health, Josh Moore, Kaylee Nelson, Clackamas Fire District #1, William Conway, Tamara Owen, Dr. Minot Cleveland, Dr. Robert Quintos, Jim Balsiger, Julien Comardelle, Andrew Gable, South Salem High School, Kathy August, Ali Massey, Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue, Jay Woods, Dr. Erin Burnham, Sandi Mackey and Tina Kaufman. Without the advocacy of these special volunteers, we couldn’t have done it.

Oregon joins 20 other states who have already passed CPR in Schools legislation.

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Kaylee Nelson: The lives we will save

My name is Kaylee Nelson, and I live in Springfield, Oregon. I’m a recent University of Oregon graduate, the current Miss Three Rivers, and a volunteer with Eugene Springfield Fire & Rescue’s CPR in schools initiative, ACT:C3.

I’d like to share with you why Senate Bill 79 (CPR in Schools) is important for Oregon.

Cardiac arrest can happen at anytime, anywhere. Four out of five times, it happens at home. While the life that you save could be a stranger, it’s more likely to be a friend or family member. The last time that it was studied, Oregon ranked as the 5th worst state for cardiac arrest survival (MMWR Feb 15, 2002 51(06):123-6).

I know firsthand what it’s like to feel helpless in an emergency when a loved one is in trouble. In 2011, I watched as my sister had a seizure. It is such a terrible feeling to watch someone you love go through something like that and to feel utterly helpless at the same time. What frustrates me the most is that there was only one person out of a crowd of twenty that stepped forward to help her. Thankfully my sister did not need CPR that day, but I knew that I never wanted to feel helpless like that ever again. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone.

That’s why I have volunteered my time to support the work of Eugene Springfield Fire & Rescue and their initiative to improve survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest. Since 2012, the department has trained approximately 3,000 students in Hands-Only CPR at 10 middle and high schools in Lane County. They’ve enlisted the help of other community members, including college students from the Alpha Phi sorority at the University of Oregon.

During these classroom trainings, I have found that CPR is both easy to learn and simple to teach. We are able to educate students about CPR, as well as to provide students with hands-on training and practice within one class period. Teachers are welcoming and helpful. Students are excited, engaged, and empowered.

The work of fire departments like Eugene Springfield Fire & Rescue is invaluable—but they can’t do it alone. Schools can play a critical role in helping to equip the next generation with this simple, lifesaving skill. Ensuring that CPR training is required for all students will put more lifesavers into every community across the state. Across the country, 21 states have passed similar legislation requiring students to be CPR-trained prior to graduating. It’s time for Oregon to join in.

Anyone can learn CPR and everyone should know how. With this bill alone, 45,000 trained lifesavers will be added to our Oregon community every year. Think of the lives they will save.

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Lobby Day MVPs in the Spotlight

There were SO many amazing stories surrounding this year’s Hill Day that it was hard to narrow down our annual lobby day award winners. Not a bad problem to have! Please join us in congratulating these You’re the Cure MVPs, and then learn more about their stories in this video.

 

  • Science Advocate of the year – Dr. David Yu-Yiao Huang: Dr. Huang has been involved with AHA advocacy since 2003. From submitting expert written testimony and attending in-district meetings, to speaking before lawmakers, his passion for policy and his belief in the positive change policy can achieve has contributed significantly to big wins in North Carolina.
  • Volunteer Advocate of the Year – Theresa Conejo: Theresa has been one of the key proponents of Pennsylvania’s comprehensive smoke-free law. Last year, she signed a smoke-free op-ed which was picked up by major news outlets across the state. She also aggressively advocated for the proposed Clean Indoor Law. In addition, she recruits new You’re the Cure advocates at every opportunity. In fact, just recently, she signed up an additional 35 volunteers to join her in Pennsylvania’s smoke-free fight.
  • Survivor Advocate of the Year – Jim Bischoff: Jim’s own struggle with heart disease, as well as his experience with his son-in-law’s stroke, gives him a unique perspective to share during state and federal lobby days and meetings with lawmakers. His family history inspired him to provide leadership on stroke systems of care legislation. He also dedicates his time to tobacco issues, and attends in-district meetings with his lawmaker to discuss both of these important issues.
  • Youth Advocate of the Year – Cassidy Collins: Cassidy uses her story as a congenital heart survivor to illustrate the importance of AHA’s policy issues. At the age of 16, her resume is already quite impressive – she’s met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to advocate for tobacco control funding; she has been a top fundraiser for the Roanoke Heart Walk for two years; and she has applied to work as a youth advocate for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Check out a video highlighting our award winners below.

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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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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 StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeMonth to learn more about how you can get involved.

 

 

 

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This was big - a look back at Oregon Lobby Day 2015

Guest blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director

On Tuesday March 3, AHA advocates filled the halls of Oregon’s State Capitol to share their stories and ensure that decision-makers heard about our priorities during AHA’s Oregon Lobby Day.

As Dr. Cleveland, AHA Advocacy Chair, shared with everyone that day: “Advocacy is good for us.” And advocating for policies to keep Oregon healthy and safe, means our actions are good for everyone else too.

Here’s a quick video, starring our advocates, with the highlights: AHA Oregon Lobby Day Video. (More photos here: Lobby Day photos.)

Just how big was Tuesday?

I couldn’t be more excited to say “thank you” 76 times today—to each and every nurse, firefighter, doctor, survivor, student, mom, sister, brother, father, and friend—who showed up and spoke up.

Thanks to our 76 advocates we held lobby meetings with over one-third of the legislature, educating and advocating on our top policy priorities.

And today, we’re 76 steps closer to passing policies for a healthier Oregon—an Oregon where every Oregonian is trained in school to save a life with CPR, where kids can learn and grow in healthy school environments, and where tobacco is no longer the number one preventable cause of death.

It was a busy at the Oregon Capitol and AHA advocates accomplished a lot—take a look:

  • Face time with decision makers: Advocates lobbied over one-third of Oregon’s legislative offices, meeting face-to-face with 23 legislators and 12 staffers. Decision-makers heard about our three priorities: requiring all Oregon students to be CPR trained before graduating; eliminating junk food marketing from schools; and increased funding for Oregon’s tobacco prevention and cessation program. 
  • 60 new lifesavers: High school students hit the hallways, training over 60 legislative staffers in Hands-Only CPR. 
  • 1,000 Beats to Save a Life: 45 students took to the Capitol rotunda, working together to perform 10 straight minutes of CPR, demonstrating just how simple the steps are to save a life. 
  • Special advocates recognized: AHA recognized two special advocates for their dedicated and ongoing efforts to support CPR training in all of Oregon’s schools: Josh Moore, firefighter with Eugene Springfield Fire & Rescue, and Raoul Meekcoms, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor with a powerful story he’s not afraid to tell. (Click on their names to read more about their inspiring work.) 
  • Student shout outs: North Salem High School, South Salem High School, and Valley Catholic Middle School were recognized by Rep. Brian Clem, Rep. Ken Helm and Senate President Peter Courtney on the House and Senate Floors.
  • Proud of our partners: Three organizations who partner with the AHA in Oregon on advocacy efforts spoke on a panel, sharing with advocates their expertise and experience: Upstream Public Health, Voices for Healthy Kids, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
  • Guest speakers: State Representative Ken Helm spoke to advocates and shared his personal perspective on what learning CPR has meant for his son; Dr. Minot Cleveland, AHA’s Oregon Advocacy Chair, reminded us why advocacy is good for us and why he never gives up; and Eric Batch, Vice President of Advocacy for the Western States Affiliate, on how Oregon can lead the way.
  • Photos, Hashtags, Videos, Oh My: Here’s a video starring advocates with some quick highlights: AHA Oregon Lobby Day Video. (And view the photo album here: Lobby Day photos.)

Our heartfelt thanks from the advocacy team goes out to all of our volunteers who work year round to support the work of the American Heart Association.

 

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