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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 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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Marilyn Boyd, Tennessee

Marilyn Boyd was 46-years-old, one day and 90-years-old the next.

She couldn’t move her right side and speaking had become difficult — at least that’s what she was told. “I thought that something must’ve been wrong with their ears because in my head, I sounded fine,” Marilyn said. “That’s one of the things of a stroke that’s really strange.” Although she was still 46, Marilyn’s abilities had become so hindered due to her stroke, she felt she was much older.

Marilyn’s survivor story began when she was outside her Jackson, Tennessee home wrangling the family’s cats one July night in 2002. While reaching for a cat under a metal chair, something went wrong. “I had a cat-tatrophe,” said Marilyn. That wrong move caused Marilyn to collapse and she hit her head on a terra cotta flower pot. Her husband Howard heard the clash and called for an ambulance when he saw her unconscious. Doctors now describe her incident as a “traumatic cerebral accident leading to a stroke.” 

“I didn’t have any risk factors for stroke,” said Marilyn. “This is something that can truly hit anyone at any time.”

After her treatment in the hospital, Marilyn began learning elementary skills again, like speaking, brushing her teeth and tying her shoes. The main focus of her rehabilitation was speech therapy, and after months of work and continued concentration, Marilyn could communicate again.

Now, Marilyn is speaking out in a big way. Using her experiences for reference, she has spent many hours in the offices of her local, state and federal lawmakers to help increase funding on stroke research, care and education.

“If you talk enough to enough people, somebody’s gonna do something,” she said.

Marilyn’s hoping that not only lawmakers, but also stroke survivors will get involved. She believes - by sharing her story other stroke survivors would benefit.

“I don’t view myself as significant,” Marilyn said. “But the issue is significant, so anything that’s done to help it is so important.” 

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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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National Walking Day at the Tennessee State Capitol

We lose nearly 18,000 Tennesseans each year from heart diseases and stroke. Yet these are largely preventable through healthy living behaviors, like walking. So the American Heart Association urged Tennesseans to take steps to turn that 18,000 around on April 1, National Walking Day. Activities were held across the state, including at the Tennessee State Capitol.

Close to 15 You’re the Cure advocates, including preventive health students from Meharry Medical College, gathered at the capitol to celebrate National Walking Day. They attended an advocacy training followed by a meeting with Speaker Beth Harwell. Speaker Harwell graciously took time out of her busy schedule to thank advocates for all they do to promote cardiovascular health in Tennessee. She also explained her involvement over the years with the American Heart Association in Nashville.

A special thank you to Speaker Harwell and all You're the Cure advocates who celebrated National Walking Day at the Tennessee State Capitol.

For more information about walking and living a healthy lifestyle, visit: www.heart.org/physicalactivity.

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Stroke Designation Legislation Introduced in Tennessee

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death, and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Every year, 795,000 new and recurrent strokes occur nationwide; of which 137,000 are fatal. To address the issue in Tennessee, Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Bob Ramsey have filed legislation that will ensure stroke patients receive proper care in a timely manner once 9-1-1 is called. 

House Bill 1156 / Senate Bill 1034 establishes a program to facilitate the development of stroke treatment capabilities in hospitals and other healthcare settings in the state. Facility designations are earned based on evaluation of hospital infrastructure, services, personnel, and quality of care. The American Heart Association supports the establishment of stroke centers, hospitals that have the expertise and infrastructure to deliver high quality stroke care, accredited by the Joint Commission or another nationally recognized accrediting body. 

The American Heart Association supports this legislation, in an effort to increase survival and decrease the disabilities associated with stroke. Stay tuned for future You're The Cure alerts on the issue!

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Tennessee Legislature Says No to Insure Tennessee

On February 2, 2015, the Tennessee Legislature convened for a special session to consider Governor Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal. The session was expected to last at least a week, but ended on February 4 when the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 7-4 against the proposal. 

 If passed, “Insure Tennessee” would have provided more than 275,000 working, low-income residents with the opportunity to see a doctor regularly and receive timely preventive screenings, such as tobacco cessation services and stroke screenings. The program would have rewarded healthy behaviors, prepare members to transition to private coverage, promote personal responsibility and incentivize choosing preventive and routine care instead of unnecessary use of emergency rooms.

As a member of the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee, the American Heart Association urged the Legislature to improve access to health care through “Insure Tennessee.” The American Heart Association will continue to support meaningful health reform that helps ensure affordable, quality health care for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, age, or ethnicity, in order to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases.

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The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 Livestream

Join us for this exclusive virtual event where top designers and celebrities demonstrate their support for women's heart health during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heart disease is not just a man's disease. Each year, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. We can change that--80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Help break barriers against heart disease and stroke by joining us for the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2015 live online at GoRedForWomen.org/RedDressCollection on Thursday, February 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern. See you there!

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2015 Tennessee Legislative Session is Now!

The 109th Tennessee General Assembly convened on January 13 at noon. Click here to ask your legislators to support improving heart health in Tennessee.

This year, two key policies for the American Heart Association are:

  • Full funding for Coordinated School Health, a systematic approach designed to connect health with learning. Coordinated School Health was implemented in all Tennessee public school systems in the 2007-08 school year and has since improved children’s health across the state. 
  • Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee, the innovative health insurance proposal that will result in better health for our great state and its people. With Tennessee’s new ranking as the 6th least healthy state in the nation, a plan such as this is much needed.

Of course, we will follow all bills as they relate to heart disease and stroke and will keep you posted along the way. We hope we can count on your support. Together, we can help all Tennesseans live healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

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