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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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Stand with Us on World Stroke Day!

October 29 is World Stroke Day, created in 2006 to raise awareness of the seriousness of stroke and the need to seek immediate medical attention. Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability. In fact, nearly 795,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year--that’s someone every 40 seconds.

Take a moment today to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke and don't forget to help spread the word this World Stroke Day!

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Lisa Hamrick, West Virginia

Lisa Hamrick

I remember riding with my parents and sisters in our station wagon as we made our way to my grandparents' house in Euclid, Ohio. I was going to be entering the Cleveland Clinic in a few days for heart surgery. We were fortunate that my Mom's parents lived so close to the Clinic. I was 19 years old at the time and had just completed my junior year of college--it was the summer of 1983.

I had what I would call the typical childhood growing up in the 1970s. I remember playing outside for hours and riding our bikes all over the neighborhood. And who could forget those pogo sticks we all had to have? I don't remember when I started experiencing issues with my heart, only that in junior high I passed out during a choir concert.  I recall being told not to stand with your knees locked.

I graduated from high school and began my college life at Alderson-Broaddus College. I began feeling very tired all the time so my Dad got an appointment for me with his cardiologist. You see, Dad has lived with heart disease his entire adult life. Dad's cardiologist examined me and did an echocardiogram in his office and could tell right away what my problem was. I had patent ductus arteriosus.  PDA is a condition in which a blood vessel, called the ductus arteriosus, fails to close normally in an infant soon after birth. This condition leads to heart murmur, as well as abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery. The doctor said my heart was working harder than it should due to the abnormal blood flow. I had been living with this problem since birth! At that time, no one in WV was performing surgical repair of PDA in adults, so my journey to Cleveland began.

I realize now that I was fortunate to survive with the condition undetected for so long. The surgery went well and I spent a few weeks at my grandparents' house recuperating. That was almost 30 years ago.

I tell my story in hopes of raising awareness in women that heart disease is not just a man's disease. We as women are the caretakers and superwomen who do it all at home and at work and we tend  to put ourselves last. You must take care of your heart so you will be around to receive all that love you give brought back to you!

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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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Advocate Spotlight: Gloria Hobbs, Ohio

For many years, Gloria Hobbs lived with her husband on the south side of Youngstown, where there was a grocery store a few blocks away. Unfortunately, the passing of Gloria’s husband and the economic downtown precipitated many changes in her life.  She now lives in subsidized senior housing downtown and is no longer able to drive, which unfortunately means she no longer has convenient access to a grocery store. 

For Gloria and the 300 other seniors living in the complex, a trip to the store now entails four buses. It also changes what they can buy. “Going by bus, I can only carry two, maybe three grocery bags,” Gloria said.

Some seniors opt to avoid the walk to the bus stop and waiting in the cold, heat and rain, by taking senior rides to the store.  While the senior housing will subsidize these and it allows for more than a few bags of groceries, Gloria’s neighbors have shared that it still costs between $10 and $20 per ride.  This is a substantial amount when living on a fixed income.  

“My only choice downtown is to get food at the convenience store around the corner. They don’t sell greens or meat. They do sell apples, oranges, bananas, and potatoes, at twice the rate of a grocery store. Seniors on fixed income can’t afford to pay twice the going rate for healthy foods,” Gloria shared.  She believes since moving downtown, her health has deteriorated in ways related to lack of items for a healthy diet.

Gloria supports efforts to make a change. She believes development of an Ohio Healthy Food Financing program will positively impact Ohioans who live in areas like hers, that currently do not have a grocery store. Learn more about Healthy Food Financing efforts and how we can all help.

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Have a Story to Share? We'd Love to Hear It!

Are you a heart disease or stroke survivor or have a loved one who is? Were you saved by CPR (or have you saved someone else)? Please take a moment now to Share Your Story with us!

Like Melinda's story of survival, your story can make a difference. Whether it’s working to ensure our students learn lifesaving CPR or helping create smoke-free cities and states, personal stories illustrate for lawmakers how important heart-healthy policies are to those in their communities.

Want to share your story via video? Upload it here! Want to share your story in writing? Just click here! (We'll follow up to get your permission before using your story.)

We hope you'll take a moment now to tell us your story. We'd love to hear 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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August Recess + Back to School = Support for Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

It's August, and that means back to school. It also means that your members of Congress are back home for August Recess, which makes this the perfect time to urge their support for healthy school meals. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is up for re-authorization this year, and with funding set to expire at the end of September, now is the time to emphasize the importance of ensuring our kids have access to nutritious food during the school day. How can you help? If you'd like to drop by your lawmaker's local office to leave information for them on this important issue, just let us know. If you don't have time for a drop-by visit, you can also help by simply dropping them a quick email.

Thank you for making this Congressional August Recess count!

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Bill Forester

Bill Forester Ohio

Bill Forester recalls the moment he heard the doctors tell his family that he was gone. At 51-years-old, he was a college professor, realtor, director of labor and public speaker who led a healthy lifestyle. "I was a vegetarian, I ran and I never smoked," said Bill, which is why it was such a shock when he had a stroke that left him in a coma for three days.

Thankfully, Bill awoke, but was paralyzed and unable to speak. When he first regained some ability to speak, his vocabulary was limited to just four word, but he was determined to get his life back. At times, he would study a single sentence for hours just to learn it. "I wanted to fully recover, and I didn’t care what it took." After lengthy physical, occupational and speech therapy, Bill regained his speech and has even been able to run a half marathon. He has since found a new talent and passion--painting.

Bill also turned his passion to helping others and recently joined hundreds of other AHA volunteers and survivors on Capitol Hill to share his story with lawmakers and advocate for increased heart and stroke research funding. He offers some advice to anyone going through a similar situation. "Never, never give up!"

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Have you checked out the AHA store lately?

T-shirts, measuring bowls, jewelry and everything in between. This summer you can “Shop Heart” choose the best of AHA swag like cookbooks, apparel, and accessories.

You can help spread our message of heart health when you wear an American Heart Association t-shirt, jacket, lapel pin, or tie. In addition to great gear we also stock educational materials so you can share important heart and stroke prevention advice with family and friends. Best of all when you "Shop Heart" money spent supports the mission of the American Heart Association.

Check out the latest merchandise in the store and show your support for the AHA today. 

P.S.  – There is a limited edition You’re the Cure T-shirt in the store. But hurry, only a couple dozen remain!







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