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Ready, Get Set, Get Fit: #GoRedGetFit Launches its 3rd Quarter Challenge!

#GoRedGetFit is a Facebook fitness challenge and platform that provides women with the education, support, motivation and accountability to create optimal results in living a healthy lifestyle. Each challenge includes a physical activity and nutrition component.

The new challenge “Less Salt, More Sweat” consists of limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 mg or less a day and getting 150 minutes of physical activity a week (or 30 minutes, 5 days a week). The challenges are designed and led by the expertise of (4) volunteer celebrity trainers and wellness experts. #GoRedGetFit is a Go Red for Women initiative nationally sponsored by Macy’s.

This group might just be what you need to have a breakthrough in living a healthier lifestyle but don’t just take our word for it. Check out the group and see what some of the members have to say.

“While I haven’t suffered from heart disease, stroke or any of the major risk factors, each and every personal story shared in the Go Red Get Fit Facebook group has inspired me to start working out, eat healthier and stay consistent in my journey toward achieving a healthy weight. I now make my health and my “self” a priority as diseases can afflict anyone at any time,” says Teresa Coulter, Go Red Get Fit Facebook group member. “This group has prevented this woman from having health complications in the future. So from the bottom of my healthy heart, thank you for the daily awareness, support and motivation I’ve never been able to find.”

We invite you to join today because your health can’t wait. Are you up for the challenge? Get more details here.

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Michael Angelucci, West Virginia

Michael Angelucci West Virginia

Michael Angelucci has been a dedicated advocacy champion for heart-health policy in West Virginia for many years. As a You're the Cure advocate, AHA Advocacy Committee Chair and Marion County EMT, he helped spearhead our efforts to pass CPR in Schools legislation in 2015. Critical to the success of the bill, he helped compile a comprehensive listing of all facilities in the state that were willing and able to teach CPR in Schools once passed, and allowed us to share it with the state department of education as a resource. In addition, he helped to teach a CPR in Schools training at the WV statewide KidStrong conference, where hundreds of health and physical education teachers and coaches attended.

And his dedication to improving healthy in the Mountain State doesn't end with passage of CPR in Schools legislation. Michael also rounded up thousands of signatures and delivered petitions to lawmakers to help us protect clean indoor air regulations around the state when several bills were introduced to weaken them in the 2015 and 2016 WV Legislation Sessions.

 In preparation for the 2016 legislative session, Michael participated in several meetings with department of health, EMS officials and neurology specialists in the state to help lay the groundwork for our Stroke Facility Designation bill. During the session, he attended committee meetings for the bill, contacted lawmakers and attended our State Lobby Day on February 2nd. At Lobby Day, he brought several employees with him and the group conducted a Hands-Only CPR training on the floor of the Senate during AHA's Go Red Week! Thanks in large part to Michael's efforts, the Stroke Bill was passed in the 2016 Session.

We were excited to be able to present Micheal with the 2016 American Heart Association Distinguished Achievement Award for his outstanding dedication to the health of the Mountain State. Thank you, Michael, for everything you do!

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Changing Policies and Changing Lives: Look What YOU Have Done!

We couldn't have done it without you! Over the past year, YOU have been instrumental in the huge strides we've made to improve heart-health in our communities.

Thanks to you, nearly 70,000 online messages and over 2,700 petition signatures were sent to lawmakers, 4.600 phone calls were made and nearly 1,000 face to face meetings were held in support of healthier policies. Because of your efforts:

  • The city of Cleveland joined a growing number of cities working to prevent our kids from beginning to smoke by increasing the age to purchase tobacco to 21. In addition, West Virginia increased it's cigarette excise tax--a proven method to prevent youth from beginning to smoke and encourage adults to quit.
  • Kentucky and Ohio passed policies to ensure all students learn CPR before graduation. There are now 34 states that have CPR in Schools policies in place, which means over 2 million kids will learn this lifesaving skill each year.
  • Philadelphia worked to improve access to healthier vending foods and also passed a tax on sugary beverages to reduce consumption. The revenue will fund quality Pre-K and improve parks and recreation facilities, increasing opportunities for physical activity in communities.
  • West Virginia passed Senate Bill 401, which will improve care for stroke victims in the Mountain State.

Check out this great graphic and stay tuned for more heart-health success in 2016-2017!

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Braelynn Neely, West Virginia

Braelynn Neely West Virginia

 Braelynn Neely is a 2016 graduate of Clay-Battelle High School in Blacksville, WV, and a congenital heart defect survivor. This passionate young woman shares her story of open-heart surgery at just 14-months-old to raise awareness that heart disease can affect anyone, at any age. Braelynn was Miss West Virginia's Outstanding Teen 2015 and through her platform, “Speaking From My Heart,” she has advocated for healthy living across the Mountain State. 

In February, Braelynn joined dozens of You’re the Cure advocates from across the state and took the opportunity to share her story with West Virginia’s lawmakers at the American Heart Association’s 2016 West Virginia Advocacy Day. We thank Braelynn for her dedication to raising awareness of the importance of heart-health and wish her the best of luck as she begins her college career!  

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Research Saved Grace's Life

Our team of nine climbers, all volunteers for a Kenyan orphanage, had begun the journey in a downpour, and the wet equipment, high elevation and ubiquitous beef stew had begun to take its toll on my body. Blurred vision accompanied exhausted muscles that pleaded for rest. But one foot in front of the other, I followed the team to summit. My body had experienced that type of complete physical exhaustion only once before – in June 2011, when I went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at age 18. Read Grace's story of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and how research saved her life.

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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Trenton Fryman, Kentucky

Trenton Fryman Kentucky

For more than a year, North Oldham High School Class of 2016 senior, Trenton Fryman, has been an outspoken advocate for training students in CPR. Thanks in part to his dedication, this past March, Kentucky became the 29th state to pass legislation that will ensure all students learn this lifesaving skill.

After working as a lifeguard during a summer and receiving CPR certification himself, Trenton came to realize that most of his classmates did not know how to respond to a cardiac emergency. Trenton took it upon himself to coordinate and host three Hands-Only CPR training sessions in his high school, as well as several other small events within his community, borrowing mannequins from local EMS. From there, he applied for and received a grant from a local business to purchase his own CPR mannequins to expand the reach of his classes. 

Trenton has written letters to the editor urging legislators to support CPR in schools training, and has been an excellent example of how easy the training is to complete. In addition, he participated in two Kentucky Advocacy Day press events to demonstrate for lawmakers how quick and easy hands-only CPR is to learn. Trenton is a well-spoken, passionate volunteer and has participated in several TV interviews surrounding both our advocacy and education efforts. 

The American Heart Association was honored to present Trenton with the 2016 Young Hearts Award for his inspiring commitment to CPR education.

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You're the Cure and You're Making it Happen!

Thank you to all our Great Rivers Affiliate You’re the Cure advocates! Because of you, we’re making Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia healthier places to live. It’s been a very busy few months in our state capitols and we wanted to take this opportunity to share a few of the policy wins YOU have helped make possible.

In March, Kentucky became the 29th state to pass legislation that will ensure all students learn lifesaving CPR before graduation. In June, neighbor Ohio became No. 33. Across the country, 34 states (including DE and WV) have now passed this lifesaving legislation, resulting in over 2 million students being taught every year. Pennsylvania is working bills in both the House and Senate and we're looking forward to celebrating another CPR success soon.

On June 16th, Philadelphia became the largest, and only the second, US city to pass a sugary drink tax. In addition to helping fight diabetes and obesity, the 1.5 cents per ounce tax will generate revenue to help fund citywide pre-K and improve parks and community centers. Read more about this historic win for Philadelphia's kids.

Our dedicated West Virginia advocates rallied over and over again during the 2016 Legislative Session to help beat back several attempts to weaken local smoke-free regulations.  In addition, the WV legislature passed a 65-cent increase in the state’s cigarette tax to help raise needed revenue to address the state’s budget shortfall.

WV passed Stroke Systems of Care legislation in March, helping ensure stroke victims get the fast care they need for the best chance of recovery.  Delaware will hopefully soon join them in improving stroke care in the First State. Senate Bill 265 passed the legislature in late June and is awaiting the Governor's signature. Kentucky passed similar legislation in 2015 and Ohio and Pennsylvania are also working on bills that will improve stroke care.

Again, thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside our amazing advocates to create heart-healthier communities.

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Help Protect PE for Kids Like Me!

Guest post from Reagan Spomer, 6th grader Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board Member & You’re the Cure Advocate

I have two words for you… scooter hockey.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  Scooter hockey, along with cage ball and 3-way soccer are some of my favorite activities in gym class, which I have a few times a week.

I’m glad I have physical education for a number of reasons.  It keeps me active and teaches me to try new things.  It helps me focus on my school work.  It relieves my stress.  And most of all, it makes me feel great! 

But I know a lot of schools don’t have regular PE like my schools does.  That means a lot of kids are missing out on the benefits of being active during the school day.  I think this needs to change.   

Will you help?  As part of the nationwide campaign to protect PE in schools, Voices for Healthy Kids has created a photo petition map to show how many people across the country love PE like I do.  As people share their pictures, the map will change colors.  I’ve added my “I heart PE” photo for South Dakota.  Will you do the same for your state?  It’s really easy:

  1. Print an “I heart PE” sign (or make your own!)
  2. Take a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Click on your state to share your photo.

Thanks for helping to protect PE for kids like me!
-Reagan

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Summer Sun Means Summer Fun

The arrival of summer means fun days at the pool, family picnics, baseball and other outdoor activities. Here are some great tips to help keep your family healthy and physically active in the warmer months:

Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity to avoid dehydration. For low-calorie flavor, add slices of your favorite fruits such as melon, oranges, berries or even cucumber or mint to a pitcher of water and refrigerate for two hours. Read our Staying Active in Warm Weather and Staying Hydrated - Staying Healthy.

Protect your family from the sun: Wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.

Heat safety: Avoid intense activities between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.

Dress for the heat: Wear lightweight, light colored clothing, choose light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Head indoors: When the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.

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