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Summer Health Tips

The arrival of summer means days at the pool, family barbeques, picnics, sports and other outdoor activities. Below are a few tips that you can use this summer to keep your whole family happy and healthy.

 

 

Staying active in the summer months

  • Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and even after physical activity.
  • Protect your family from the sun.
  • Try to avoid intense physical activity during the hottest parts of the day (between noon to 3pm).
  • Dress for the heat.
  • Head indoors when the heat becomes unbearable. There are plenty of indoor activities that can keep you active on the hottest days.

Heart-Healthy Cookout Ideas

  • Go fish!
  • Make a better burger by purchasing leaner meat and adding delicious veggies.
  • Replace your traditional greasy fries with some heart healthy baked fries.
  • Veggie kabobs are a fun and healthy addition to your family barbeque.
  • Try grilled corn on the cob.

Healthy Road Trip

  • Make “rest breaks” active.
  • Pack healthy snacks to avoid the unhealthy foods at rest stops along your way.
  • Pack to play to continue your regular physical activity.
  • Reach for water instead of being tempted by sugary drinks.

Summer Snack Ideas

  • Homemade freezer fruit pops are an easy and fun treat for the whole family.
  • Keep your veggies cool and crisp during the summer months and they becoming a refreshing treat.
  • Fruit smoothies area a healthy way to cool yourself down on a hot summer day.
  • Mix up your own trail mix to take on all of your summer adventures.
  • Just slice and serve all the delicious fruits that are in season during the summer months.

 

Read more about these tips and other getting healthy tips over at www.heart.org/GettingHealthy 

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Garry Beltz, Ohio

Garry Beltz Ohio

At 72 years young, Garry Beltz is no stranger to speaking up for causes he believes in. When he lost his wife to cancer, his world was changed forever. He turned his grief to advocacy, initially with the American Cancer Society and then, after becoming a heart disease survivor himself, to the American Heart Association. As a passionate voice for change, Garry has attended Congressional Lobby Days in Washington, D.C. 23 times, most recently this past May when he joined nearly 400 advocates from across the country for AHA's You're the Cure on the Hill. 

Garry's passion for change extends beyond meeting with lawmakers. When he's not taking time out of his busy schedule visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill and at the Statehouse in Columbus, he volunteers at his local HeartWalks and serves as an AHA Canton Board member. 

Garry believes, "Advocacy is a very valuable thing one can do. It is a platform to speak your truth and it's very satisfying to have such opportunities." His feels his successes show how well advocacy can work and he's proud to support the AHA mission.

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GRA Advocates are the Cure on Capitol Hill

Last month, hundreds of You’re the Cure advocates from across the country converged on Capitol Hill urging their lawmakers to "step up to the plate" for heart health. We're excited that 43 of these passionate volunteers, survivors and researchers were there representing the Great Rivers Affiliate states of Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

Two longtime GRA volunteers were among four recognized nationally on Monday at the You're the Cure Heroes luncheon in Washington, D.C. From Pennsylvania, Theresa Conejo, RN, received the You're the Cure Volunteer Advocate Award for her relentless activities in support of AHA priorities at the local, state, and federal levels. Theresa is a GRA board member, a former national Advocacy Advisory Committee member, and was recently named as a Stroke Fellow. Her work has also included outreach to priority populations: Access the 2015 Volunteer Advocate Award video here.

From Ohio, Jim Bischoff was presented with the You're the Cure Survivor Advocate Award. As a former affiliate board chair and current national and affiliate committee member, Jim brings his years as a former school superintendent and heart survivor to his impassioned arguments in favor of AHA's public policy priorities. Access the 2015 Survivor-Advocate of the Year video here.

We've made a huge impact, but we need to keep it up. It’s not too late to take action to support healthy school meals and medical research funding. Ask your lawmaker to stand up for heart health! 

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Advocate Spotlight: Matthew and Sherry Pickett, Kentucky

Matthew and Sherry Pickett Kentucky

My Stroke Hero is my son, Matthew Pickett. Matthew was born on June 2, 1999, and within 24 hours, he coded. Also during that time, he had stroke. Unfortunately, the cardiologist had to wait days for the bleeding to stop in order to do his first open heart surgery.

As I visited with Matthew while he was in NICU, the nurse was feeding him by bottle. Matthew aspirated on milk and required a Gtube. We taught Matthew to eat by dipping a pacifier in baby food to get him to eat and were finally able to remove the Gtube in 2007, as he was eating table foods and gaining weight.

Matthew has made tremendous progress over the years. He is up to 116 pounds, has a great appetite and loves vegetables and meat. This semester, as we were transitioning Matthew to high school, the speech therapist reported that he has met all his goals and agreed to discharge him from his speech therapy. For the first time in 15 years Matthew has no therapies and we are so proud of him.

Matthew is not only my Heart Hero but my Stroke Hero. I'm very blessed and proud to be his mom.

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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 featuring the 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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Advocate Spotlight: Bill Forester

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 offers some advice to others who are going through a similar situation. "Never, never give up!"

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Highlights of PA Advocacy Day 2015

On April 20, 2015, dozens of dedicated American Heart Association volunteers from across Pennsylvania converged on the State Capitol to raise awareness of important heart and stroke-related policy issues.  For a number of attendees, this was their first-ever advocacy day, and they found it to be a very informative and rewarding experience. 

As part of the day’s event, AHA hosted a press conference focused on CPR as a graduation requirement.  In addition, we were thrilled to have the smoke-free bill sponsors, Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) and Representative Tom Murt (R-Montgomery), take part in the press conference to show their support for AHA and the clean indoor air issue. 

Throughout the day, volunteers took to the Capitol halls, speaking to Legislators and their staff on three specific issues: 

  • Tobacco Taxes.  Governor Tom Wolf has proposed to increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and levy a 40 percent wholesale tax on other tobacco products.  Study after study shows that increasing tobacco taxes reduces youth smoking, helps adult smokers quit, and reduces smoking-related deaths. 
  • Hands-only CPR Training in Schools.  AHA is leading the way to support efforts that would ensure students graduating from high school are provided with a hands-only, 30-minute CPR training.  We believe that learning the basic skill of physically administering CPR will ensure every high school graduate is ready to step up and save a life.
  • Clean Indoor Air.  For many years, AHA has supported strengthening Pennsylvania’s smoke-free law, known as the “Clean Indoor Air Act.”  The law was enacted in 2008 and contains over a dozen exemptions, far more than any surrounding state.  These workplaces, where smoking is permitted, exposes Pennsylvania workers, and the public, to the dangers of secondhand smoke.  Legislation has been introduced in the House (House Bill 682) and the Senate (Senate Bill 567) that would remove the exemptions. 

The efforts of our volunteers truly made an impact in Harrisburg!  Their involvement, personal stories and engagement are an important part of how we fulfill our mission of building healthier lives, free from cardiovascular disease and stroke.


 

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From the Bottom of our Hearts - Thank You!

National Volunteer Week (April 12-18) is right around the corner and we couldn’t let it pass without saying how much we appreciate all your contributions as a You’re the Cure advocate. It’s advocates like you who give their time, energy, and passion to help create healthier communities across the country.  We are deeply grateful for your commitment and talent as an advocate.

Since staff can’t always shake your hand and say thank you in person we’ve got a brief video to share. When you watch I am sure you too will be moved by all the great work happening in your states and communities and we look forward to more success in the future. Take a moment to check out the video and then encourage other to get involved and join in the fun.

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