Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Statement from American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC, January 27, 2010 - President Obama’s appeal to members of Congress to not walk away from health care reform and the millions of Americans who are counting on it provides hope to the many heart disease and stroke patients who are struggling to get the care they need or are one step away from medical bankruptcy. We, too, call on Congress to act together to quickly pass meaningful, comprehensive health reform this year. Failure cannot be an option.

Nearly seven million heart disease and stroke patients do not have health insurance coverage and in many cases forgo necessary medical care to pay bills and support their families. Without reform, health care costs will continue to climb, individuals with pre-existing conditions will continue to be denied coverage and preventive care will continue to be out of reach for Americans who want to reduce their risk for chronic illnesses.

The American Heart Association has a strong commitment to comprehensive reform that aligns with the Association’s principles and the needs of heart disease and stroke patients. Specifically, these principles focus on access to affordable insurance coverage, preventive services, quality health care, the elimination of health disparities, continued biomedical research to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease and stroke, and an adequate and diverse workforce. Americans need and deserve a health care system that embodies these principles. We urge Congress to find common ground and finish its work on meaningful, comprehensive reform. We must not turn our backs on those who need our help the most.

Don't forget to take action by visiting

Thursday, January 28, 2010

AdDRESS Your Heart

Vote for your favorite story and dress design. For each vote, we’re donating $1 up to $625,000 to the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® movement.

Voting ends January 28, but you can continue to click to donate through March 31, 2010.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watch the State of the Union with the AHA

Tonight, the President will address Congress and the American people with his State of the Union address- and we want to invite you to watch along with the AHA and join us for a real-time, online chat!

While we know it is likely that the President will focus on the nation's struggling economy, the American Heart Association will also be listening closely for mentions of the issues facing our nation's health- many of which you have been actively advocating for on behalf of heart disease and stroke patients and those at risk. So tune-in and log-on! Participating is easy!

1) Become a fan of the AHA's You're the Cure network on Facebook (if you aren't already!)
2) At 9:00 pm EST, visit the You're the Cure fan page and tune into the speech on TV.
3) Join in the conversation as the AHA posts throughout the speech. You could even win some prizes for taking part!

The State of the Union is a chance for the President to review the accomplishments of the past year and to set the stage for the year to come- so as informed health advocates, it is important that we all tune-in. And by being part of the AHA's online chat, you can not only watch the speech, but be part of the discussion.

See you on the You're the Cure Facebook fan page tonight!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trapped father survives with help of phone app

By Josh Levs, CNN

iPhone application, called "Pocket First Aid & CPR," is from Jive Media

"That gave me confidence to treat my wounds properly," Woolley says
(CNN) -- Alone in the darkness beneath layers of rubble, Dan Woolley felt blood streaming from his head and leg.

Then he remembered -- he had an app for that.

Woolley, an aid worker, husband, and father of two boys, followed instructions on his cell phone to survive the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

"I had an app that had pre-downloaded all this information about treating wounds. So I looked up excessive bleeding and I looked up compound fracture," Woolley told CNN.

The application on his iPhone is filled with information about first aid and CPR from the American Heart Association. "So I knew I wasn't making mistakes," Woolley said. "That gave me confidence to treat my wounds properly."

Trapped in the ruins of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, he used his shirt to bandage his leg, and tied his belt around the wound. To stop the bleeding on his head, he firmly pressed a sock to it.

Concerned he might have been experiencing shock, Woolley used the app to look up what to do. It warned him not to sleep. So he set his phone alarm to go off every 20 minutes.

Once the battery got down to less than 20 percent of its power, Woolley turned it off. By then, he says, he had trained his body not to sleep for long periods, drifting off only to wake up within minutes.

Woolley's job keeps him tech savvy. He oversees interactive projects for the Christian child advocacy organization Compassion International in Colorado Springs, Colorado.CNN iReport: Looking for loved ones in Haiti

With his injuries tended to, he wrote a note to his family in his journal: "I was in a big accident, an earthquake. Don't be upset at God. He always provides for his children even in hard times. I'm still praying that God will get me out, but he may not. But even so he will always take care of you."

The journal is stained with his blood.

After more than 60 hours, Woolley was pulled from the rubble.

"Those guys are rescue heroes," he said of the crew that pulled him out.Interactive map of where to find aid, hospitals in Haiti

His colleague David Hames has not been found. The two had been standing together when the earthquake struck and the Hotel Montana crumbled. They were making a film about poverty in Haiti and had just gotten back to the hotel, heading to the elevator in the lobby.

"Then all of a sudden just all craziness broke loose," Woolley said. "Convulsions of the ground around us, the walls started rippling and then falling on us. [Hames] yelled out, 'I think it's an earthquake!' I looked for someplace safe to jump to and there was no safe place."

When the shaking stopped, Woolley couldn't see. And his friend was not with him.

He turned on the focus light of a camera he was wearing around his neck, but he didn't have his glasses. "So I actually took some pictures and would look at the back of the lens of the camera and saw in one of those pictures the elevator that I ended up hobbling over to. And that became my safe place."

Once in the elevator, he used the app -- called "Pocket First Aid & CPR" from Jive Media -- to tend to his injuries. Woolley said his phone "was like a high-tech version of a Swiss Army knife that enabled me to treat my own injuries, track time, stay awake and stay alive."

Woolley heard voices of some other people trapped nearby, and they spoke with each other.
"About a day, maybe day and a half in, we heard rescuers, and they had a list of our names at that point, because they were able to talk to one of the people we were talking with. And so then it seemed like, OK, this is going to happen, we're actually going to get rescued.

"But then it just took a long time and there were times where I didn't hear anything or I'd hear drilling in a far part of the building and just didn't get any reassurance they were still coming for me," Woolley said.

"The scene outside was a lot more chaotic and less simple than I imagined in my head. ... But eventually they came for me and did an amazing rescue."

Back home now in Colorado Springs with his wife Christina and children Josh, 6, and Nathan, 3, Woolley said he's grateful to God for getting him through the ordeal.

"Happiness is a morning with ... family, filled with Legos, kissing boo-boos and normalcy."

Find this article at:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Come to the Go Red Casting Call on Feb 5th!

Speak Up to Save Lives.
Speak up to save lives at
Our Hearts. Our Choice.

Do you have a compelling story about choices that inspires others?
Speak up and share your story to be a part of the Go Red For Women 2010 Campaign, including a chance to appear in an NBC television special on the many ways women speak up against heart disease, their No. 1 killer. By sharing a commitment to speak up and spread the word, you can help save lives using the power of your very own voice. Be a part of this extraordinary day.
The 2010 Go Red for Women Casting Call Event
Date: Friday, Feb. 5, 2010
Where: Macy’s on State Fourth Floor (near Starbucks) in Chicago
Time: 11 am - 4 pm
RSVP: Katie Green,, 312-476-6660

Come by to audition or just to enjoy these activities:
• Mini-Makeovers – Makeover touchups by Estée Lauder
• Nutrition Makeover Minute from the Jewel-Osco dietitian –
get tips and heart-healthy recipes for a better you!
• Mrs. Dash Sampling – Get samples of salt-free seasonings
• Relax in Red Lounge – Put your feet up while you wait
to audition or take a break from shopping
• Meet and Greet with reigning 2010
Illinois International Pageant title-holders

Register for Go Red For Women® and be entered
into a raffle to win one of the following prizes!

• Jiffy Lube $500 Gift Certificate –
‘Free Oil Changes For a Year’
• Macy’s $100 Gift Card
• Mrs. Dash Salt Free, Flavor-Full Gift Basket
•Jewel-Osco Reusable Shopping

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Heart Association encourages heart disease patients to get H1N1 flu shot in support of National Influenza Vaccination Week, Jan. 10-16

DALLAS— The American Heart Association supports National Influenza Vaccination Week, Jan. 10-16, an effort led by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against H1N1. Influenza of all types can pose greater dangers for people with heart failure or with any cardiovascular disease. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 (“swine” flu) may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

The American Heart Association recommends each year that all heart disease patients get flu shots and they should do so by injection – not the live, attenuated vaccine given as a nasal spray. The live vaccine is not approved for use by cardiovascular disease patients.

There is a vaccine available for H1N1 flu in addition to the vaccine for seasonal flu.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has information about the H1N1 flu, its treatment, who should be vaccinated, and how to keep from spreading it at

There is treatment for the flu, which you can get from your doctor. Antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

Helpful tips for keeping yourself and others healthy:
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

The H1N1 flu is a serious disease. The CDC estimates that between mid-April and November 14, 2009, 47 million people in the United States were infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 people were hospitalized, and over 9,800 people died. For more on H1N1 flu and National Influenza Vaccination Week, visit

Learn more on influenza and heart disease from the American Heart Association.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

News Coverage of Illinois' Stroke Law

FYI, a couple of recent news items on the stroke law…. Good to see the continuing impact it is making!


The Beacon News/Sun Times Media Group:,2_5_AU06_STROKE_S1-100106.article

We are grateful to our legislative champions, State Sen. Heather Steans and State Rep. Bob Biggins, for making this law a reality!!! It is already saving and changing lives!

Monday, January 4, 2010

EMS Stroke Training Course Available Online

The Minnesota Stroke Partnership's EMS Stroke Task Force has developed a unique training course focused on the role of EMTs and paramedics in stroke diagnosis and treatment. The EMS Response to Stroke continuing education course will improve EMS providers' knowledge of current practices for recognition and treatment of stroke signs and symptoms in patients.

The course is presented by Craig Rees, MS, NREMT-P, and Kari Olson, RN, CNRN.

Craig has been working in EMS for over 20 years. His experience ranges from rural communities to high volume urban communities. He also spent time working as a flight medic. He has been providing education to EMS provider throughout his entire career in EMS. In an effort to improve the quality of education he was providing, he completed a Masters program in Experiential Education.

Kari is a certified Neuroscience Nurse with the Stroke & Neurosciences Program at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. She has 20 years of experience working with stroke patients from bedside nursing to various administrative and clinical roles. Kari provides education & support for hospital staff, patients, families and community partners. Kari obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from Minnesota StateUniversity- Mankato and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Nursing from the University of Minnesota.

Please visit the resources page at to access the course. The 1 hour presentation video must be viewed on a high-speed internet connection using Internet Explorer.

If you have any questions about this online training opportunity, please contact Dr. Jim Peacock at the address below:

James M. Peacock, PhD, MPH
Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Unit
Center for Health Promotion
Minnesota Department of Health
Golden Rule Building
85 East Seventh Place, Suite 220
P.O. Box 64882St. Paul, MN 55164-0882
Phone: (651) 201-5405