Posts Tagged ‘Advocate Spotlight’

Advocate Spotlight! Missouri Doctor Speaks-Up for Safe Routes to School on Capitol Hill

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Barb Blaine, Jim Blaine, Rep. Billy Long, Deborah Markenson, and Carter Hendrick met to discuss Safe Routes to School

Dr. Jim Blaine of Springfield, MO, knows the importance of prevention.  As the Medical Director of the Ozark Technical Community College Health & Wellness Clinic, he has seen cardiovascular events decrease over the last four years by helping patients focus on diet, exercise, and taking the proper medication to manage heart disease and stroke risk factors.   And it is the theme of prevention that helped him make a strong case for the Safe Route to School program when he came to Washington, DC on March 7th.

With funding threats to the Safe Routes to School program looming, Dr. Blaine and 16 fellow advocates brought their message about the need for safe, walk-able and bike-able communities from their hometowns to the halls of Congress.  Armed with letters of support from local business, education, and government leaders, Dr. Blaine met with Senator Roy Blunt and Representative Billy Long, as well as staff from Senator Claire McCaskill’s office.

“This is a very worthwhile project and, thanks to the AHA, we had an enjoyable and, hopefully, effective DC experience,” said Dr. Blaine.

On March 29th, both the House and the Senate passed a 90 extension of the current transportation bill, giving Members until June 30th to reach an agreement.  The American Heart Association will continue to advocate for Safe Routes to School funding to be included in the final package.

Read Dr. Blaine’s interview with his local paper about advocating for Safe Route to School.

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Minnesota Volunteer Briefs Local Media before White House Visit

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Minnesota You’re the Cure advocate Stevie Nelson stopped by a local news station and told his story about surving a stroke and his upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for the White House Community Leaders Briefing on Cardiovascular Health.

After surviving a stroke, Nelson found a new life mission by volunteering with the American Heart Association and will sharing his story with top Obama Administration Officials tomorrow in D.C.

Watch his appearance below!

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Three You’re the Cure Advocates Go to the Media to Talk about Heart Attacks in Women

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Three You’re the Cure advocates were recently highlighted in two ABC News spots talking about a recent study that showed younger women who have heart attacks do not always experience chest pain during the event and the attack can be more deadly as a result.

Gail Harris-Berry was profiled on a story that aired on ABC News with Diane Sawyer, where she was turned down by multiple hospitals because she didn’t show the “classic” heart attack symptons.

Tami Kimet told her story to, where she went to the hospital to get relief from what she thought was the flu but instead received life-saving surgery due to a heart attack. In the same article, Dr. Malissa Wood explains how younger women tend not to recognize the signs of a heart attack, but the effects of one can be devastating.

Both Gail and Dr. Wood will be attending the White House Community Leaders Briefing on Cardiovascular Health this Friday, where they will share their stories and experiences with top Obama Administration officials.

Check out the video below to see Gail Harris-Berry’s story and click here to see Tami’s story and Dr. Wood’s advice on how to recognize the signs of a heart attack in younger women.

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State Spotlight! NC Youth Advocates Discuss Prevention with Surgeon General

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin visited North Carolina on January 27th, our You’re the Cure youth advocates were ready to talk prevention with “America’s Doctor”. The Surgeon General, who was in the state to promote the National Prevention Strategy, participated in a town hall meeting with local health directors and teen tobacco use prevention advocates to discuss “What Will It Take to Keep Our Kids Tobacco Free.”

After the town hall, our youth advocates joined Dr. Benjamin and other health advocates for a statewide teleconference about the importance of continuing tobacco control programs and enhancing obesity prevention programs. The call was hosted by the NC Alliance for Health, a statewide coalition the AHA is proud to be a part of.

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14 Year-Old Advocates of CPR Graduation Requirement

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can make a difference. Ask 14 year old Tommy Watson. He recently traveled to the Vermont state capital to advocate for a law to require CPR as a graduation requirement.

This bill has the support of the American Heart Association and would require all students to know how to administer CPR and use defibrillators. Only Iowa has a similar law already on the books.

“You can give someone a chance for survival, which is very important,” Watson said in a NECN news story.

Click the image below to see Tommy Watson advocating for this important cause!

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You’re the Cure goes to Austin, TX

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Texas You’re the Cure advocates are not taking a break before the holiday!

On November 21, You’re the Cure advocates and American Heart Association staff traveled to the Texas Capitol to speak to state legislators and staff about top hearth health priorities. After a 30 minute training, eight advocates, including a stroke survivor and youth advocate, took to the Capitol hallways advocating for smokefree workplaces and strengthening physical education standards in schools.

In addition to visiting state legislation offices, You’re the Cure advocates were also able to visit offices of the members that sit on the House Education Committee.

Great work Texas!

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You’re the Cure Success in Idaho!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Congratulations You’re the Cure advocates in Idaho!

After three years of intense grassroots activities and lobbying efforts, the Boise City Council voted unanimously to protect all workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Advocates sent the city council thousands of postcards, e-mails, petition signatures, phone calls, hand written letters and also visited offices urging them to pass a smoke free ordinance.

Boise is the first city in Idaho to pass a comprehensive smoke free ordinance. The ordinance includes prohibiting smoking in all indoor public places, within 20 feet of public transportation stands, all of 8th Street, and has the tightest definition of a “tobacconist shop” in the nation.

Great work!

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Advocate Spotlight! Keith Ahrens

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

When you meet Keith Ahrens, a You’re the Cure advocate from Nevada, you are immediately drawn in by his passion to inspire others to live healthier lives. After suffering a heart attack, undergoing open heart surgery, and losing 200 lbs by changing his diet and exercise routine, he knows firsthand how critical it is to advocate for changes that promote prevention.

Keith has advocated for smoke-free regulations, bans on trans fats, and other nutrition issues within his state- and in April, he came to Washington, DC to lobby for NIH research funding and the FIT Kids Act. He has even taken his advocacy efforts 35,000 feet in the air! While on his return flight to Nevada from DC, he recognized Representative Shelley Berkley on his plane and took the opportunity to share his story and ask for her support for our issues.

Ask Keith which of the advocacy campaigns he’s been involved with that he thought was most significant and he says, “That’s a really tough question – there have been so many! Giving testimony to the Nevada Assembly. Standing in front of the Capital with my arms raised, knowing that we were there to deliver a message. They’ve all been important. The advocacy in the moment is the most important thing. It could seem big or little at the time but there’s always so much potential.”

In addition to influencing lawmakers, Keith also inspires his peers to take action, whether it is through his work as an author, motivational speaker and fitness trainer, or virtually through social media.

As Keith says, “You may not think you are an advocate, but chances are you are if you’re paying attention to the issues. It’s just a matter of how soft or how loud you want your voice to be. You’re the Cure is the best vehicle for a small person to let their voice be heard very big. It empowers you to go to a level you never thought possible.”

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Go Red goes to Washington

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Myrna Aguilar, a Go Red spokeswoman and single mom from California, knew her family’s history of heart disease put her at risk as well. Coming from a Latin American family that “likes to eat well”, she realized she needed to make changes to her lifestyle. She started by signing up for a bike marathon last fall and committed to regular exercise and a healthier diet. She has maintained her healthy lifestyle and is working to inspire her young son and other family members to do the same.

Recently, Myrna took her push for prevention to another level by participating in the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure on the Hill lobby day. “I wanted to share my story with lawmakers because I’m concerned for the future of my son and his generation,” she said. Myrna joined fellow advocates in urging lawmakers to address childhood obesity by supporting the FIT Kids Act and Safe Routes to School legislation, as well as to support increased funding for medical research to improve the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Myrna realized her actions made a difference when Representative Laura Richardson (shown with Eric Batch, Jacqueline Hernandez, and Myrna) agreed to co-sponsor the FIT Kids Act after their lobby day meeting. Simply by sharing her story and concerns as a mother, Myrna and other advocates across the country have been able to raise awareness and garner support from our nation’s lawmakers.

Myrna further reflects, “I heard the most amazing stories and left even more inspired by all of the great work You’re the Cure advocates are doing!” To join Myrna in taking action, visit today!

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Advocate Spotlight! Libbie Hough

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Libbie Hough, a You’re the Cure advocate from North Carolina, came to Capitol Hill on March 17th to share her story and urge Congress to preserve the Affordable Care Act to ensure children with heart disease and other pre-existing conditions have access to affordable, quality care.

Libbie’s 19-year-old daughter, Natalie, suffered cardiac arrest about 18 months ago in school, due to LongQT Syndrome, a life-threatening and usually genetic heart condition that unexpectedly claims thousands of lives every year, often with no symptoms or warning signs.

“We’re very appreciative of the peace of mind that the Affordable Care Act provides,” she said. “Thanks to the law, we are assured that Natalie can stay on our family’s health insurance policy until she turns 26 and other patients with pre-existing conditions now have options for affordable care. Before the law, affordable individual coverage for patients like Natalie with pre-existing conditions was essentially non-existent.”

Libbie was joined at the briefing by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of Congress, doctors, nurses, patients, and small business owners to mark the one-year anniversary of the law.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit and

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