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!

Monday, October 31, 2011

One in Six

Did you know?

Saturday, Oct. 29, is World Stroke Day. The American Stroke Association has joined other international organizations to urge people globally to “Act Now” to reduce the threat of stroke.

The day’s theme —One in Six: Act Now! — highlights the reality that one of every six people worldwide has a stroke. Stroke is the second-leading cause of death in the world behind heart disease. In the United States, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of one every three to four minutes. Here’s how you can Act Now on World Stroke Day:

Send a message to your legislators to make sure they are supporting policies that reduce the threat of stroke.

Then take the World Stroke Organization’s six challenges to lower stroke risk:

1. Know the risk factors for stroke— high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high blood cholesterol — and keep them in a healthy range.
2. Be physically active.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
4. Limit alcohol consumption.
5. Avoid cigarette smoke. If you smoke, seek help to stop now.
6. Learn to recognize the warning signs of a stroke and how to take action.

Explore other ways you can Act Now by using American Heart Association and American Stroke Association tools and resources:

- Learn your stroke risk
- Learn the warning signs of stroke and TIA
- Track and control your No. 1 modifiable stroke risk factor: High Blood Pressure
Online tracker
Printable tracker
High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator
- Take your medicine
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Make a new life resolution
- Join or start a stroke support group

Make sure you share these resources with your legislators on celebration of World Stroke Day!

Thank you for building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Save Lives by Protecting the Smoke Free Illinois Act

As you may have heard in the news recently, Illinois legislators are in Springfield this week for the start of the Fall Veto Session and one key issue on the legislative agenda is casino and race track gaming. We are concerned that casino interests will use this as an opportunity to weaken the Smoke Free Illinois Act by allowing smoking in casinos and other gambling venues.

Thanks to thousands of advocates like you, we were able to defend this law from credible threats during the last legislative session. Now is a good time to remind your state elected officials that we must keep this important health law in place without exemption, protecting the health of all Illinoisans, including all Illinois workers, from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Take a moment to reminder your legislators to protect the Smoke Free Illinois Act

The Smoke Free Illinois Act is one of the most popular laws ever passed in Illinois, with more than 84% of registered voters supporting a smoke free Illinois in previous polls. It is also one of the most important public health laws in the state. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke have 25 to 35 percent higher coronary death rates and an increased chance of developing lung cancer. After four years, we have come to enjoy and expect smoke-free offices, restaurants, bars, clubs and gaming facilities.

Take a moment to reminder your legislators to continue to protect all Illinois workers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Thank you for your continued dedication and support of a smoke free Illinois!

Monday, October 24, 2011

American Heart Association Letter Regarding Chicago Public Schools PE Waiver

October 19, 2011

Jean-Claude Brizard
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools
125 South Clark St., 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603

Dear Mr. Brizard,

I am writing on behalf of the American heart Association and the American Stroke Association to respectfully urge you not to apply to the Illinois State Board of Education for a renewal of CPS’ waiver from state physical education requirements. Although you have the unenviable task of prioritizing the allocation of limited resources in the face of limitless needs, we hope that under your leadership, CPS will make a renewed commitment to quality daily PE for all students.

While it would be customary to include reams of pertinent statistics and health information with this type of request, I believe that is unnecessary in this instance. Surely, having been around kids most of your professional life, you have seen the devastating impact childhood obesity and related health problems are having on children and communities everywhere. Likewise, I am certain that you are already aware of the growing body of evidence linking children’s behavior and their ability to learn with their overall fitness and their levels of physical activity.

Simply put, efforts to cut PE in the face of tight budgets may seem penny-wise, but they are most certainly pound-foolish. Clearly there is an inversely proportional relationship between public education and healthcare spending and as our obesity related health care costs go up, fewer resources will be available to fund education. Investing in quality PE is ultimately important not only as a public health strategy, but also as a way to preserve and strengthen our public education system.

We sincerely hope that under new management, the Chicago Public Schools choose to embrace quality daily PE for all students, rather than taking the backward step of applying for further PE waivers. We are ready to stand with you and to help CPS however we can should you decide to lead our schools in this direction.

Please contact me at your convenience should you have any questions or requests. Thank you very much for your consideration in this mater.


Mark E. Peysakhovich
Senior Director of Government Relations
American Heart Association and American Stroke Association
208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1500
Chicago, IL 60604
Direct: 312-476-6644

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Action Alert! Don't Let Congress Cut Research Funding

Funding for medical research is critical to our fight against heart disease and stroke, yet the budget for research conducted through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could be cut if Members of Congress don’t act soon.

We need you to help by telling lawmakers that funding for research saves lives!

So many of the prevention and treatment techniques you know today are a result of NIH-funded research. The development of cholesterol-lowering drugs that help significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke for many Americans, bypass surgery to assist those suffering from a blocked artery, the use of Aspirin to prevent blood clots that could cause a stroke… all of these were discoveries that resulted from NIH funds, and all of them are currently saving lives!

Tell your legislators that we can’t afford cuts to NIH funding, halting discoveries of new treatments for those affected by heart disease and stroke. We must continue to make progress in the fight against these devastating diseases that threaten the lives of far too many of our loved ones.

Send a message today- let lawmakers know that "Research Saves Lives"!

Heart Disease and Stroke. You’re the Cure.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Go Red Premiere Event, Oct. 20th at James Thompson Center from 11:00 am- 1:00 p.m.

Please join us for the Go Red For Women Premiere Event featuring, “Just a Little Heart Attack," a short film inspired by the stories of real women whose lives have been forever changed by heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. You’ll have an opportunity to also hear the personal stories of real women impacted by heart disease and stroke. Additional features include:
· Fun giveaways
· A chance to try some new treats from Skinny Cow
· Materials on women and heart disease

A "little" film by Elizabeth Banks

October 20th
James R. Thompson Center, Chicago –
Ground Level
11:00 am until 1:00 p.m.

Take a walk over to the Thompson Center and enjoy a treat!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Illinois Women’s Health Conference

Illinois Women’s Health Conference
November 2-3, 2011
Springfield Hilton
Early bird registration rate until October 21

The conference will be packed with great information, great speakers and lots of CEU’s! Here are a few highlights:

10.5 CEUs for RNs, Social Workers, Counselors and Dieticians. And 10 Universal CEs for CHES and other professionals!

New for 2011! Join other participants and sign up for the “Conference Walk Your Way to Health Challenge.” Participants are encouraged to sign up and receive a pedometer to track their steps while in attendance at the conference. There will be a “one-day challenge” and a “two-day challenge.” Prizes will be awarded at the end of each day! A wonderful grand prize will be awarded at the conclusion of the conference! Please visit the Walking Challenge Registration table to sign-up and receive additional information. You won’t want to miss participating in this healthy opportunity!!

There will be a book signings each day featuring New York Times bestselling author Kris Carr with her book Crazy Sexy Diet and Eliz Greene’s The Busy Women’s Guide to a Healthy Heart.

The first day will come to an end with a networking opportunity that is not to be missed! Conference attendees will be invited to a reception and tour of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum! Make sure and RSVP on your conference registration to be there!

And on Day 2, Dr. Toni Yancey, UCLA School of Public Health, will have, what I’m sure will be an enlightening discussion, on obesity entitled Instant Recess® meets Let's Move: Women Hold the Key to Getting our Communities Moving Again!

Please go to to check out the full agenda and to register online!