Saturday, May 31, 2008

CPR Across Arkansas and City Goes Red

For the past several months we have been in the process of planning the largest ever mass CPR training ever to occur in the state of Arkansas. I am thrilled to report it was a rousing success! In all honesty, it was far beyond my wildest hopes!! Taking Wellness to Heart, the American Heart Association, Air Evac and the Arkansas Heart hospital were all sponsors of the event, and our early estimates are that more than 1500 people were trained in the life saving technique known as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It was an inspiring site to see hundreds of people gathered on the playing field of War Memorial Stadium, under the blazing sun, learning how to save lives. We began the training sessions this morning at 8 AM, and they ran until 2 o’clock.
There were many other opportunities for attendees to benefit from as well. The Heart Hospital staff was on hand to provide free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Their booth was, by far, one of the most popular. It is an honor to be able to provide life saving medical tests free of charge to those who may not normally be able to afford them.
I also spent time at the AHA “You’re the Cure” desk, signing up new YTC members. These members will become part of the largest life saving team in the nation. These individuals will receive emails when our state and national representatives are considering legislation that we at the AHA consider important to the overall health of our populace. I’ve mentioned this before, but it certainly bears repeating. Our legislators tell us that they rarely hear from even ten constituents on any legislative issue. Your one email could actually be considered a mandate to your representative.
The American Red Cross was in attendance as well, and had a more than successful blood drive from our attendees. Each drop of blood collected today represents a life saved.
Today was also out kick off event for our new movement, City Goes Red. This is our newest outshoot of the Go Red for Women movement. I am honored to serve on our state board of directors. We hope in this coming year to use CGR to encourage large corporations around our state to become deeply invested in the Go Red movement. We will organize health fairs for the employees of these corporations, and in turn we will have their corporation and fiscal sponsorship in the Go Red movement. We are thrilled to see where this new partnership can take Go Red!
I also got to spend some time with the rep for Zoll AED’s. (automatic electronic defibrillators). The Zoll AED is working closely with the AHA to follow each of the AHA’s considerations for AED’s. It is important that we on the Legislative Action Committee be fully aware of all brands of AED’s as we author new considerations to attach to next year’s AED’s legislation. Zoll is an incredible company, and I look forward to a lengthy relationship with them.
Other exciting news includes the upcoming Legislative Action Committee meeting at the end of June. As chairman I’ll be assigning our members their “areas of action” for the coming session. We have individual committees that in the coming session will divide their attentions between AED legislation, obesity law, disparity research, tobacco excise issues and physical activity in schools. I’ll be giving out their “assignments” at the end of the month, and then the REAL work will begin!
Also, June 18th is our first board meeting for the 2009 Heart Ball. I cannot believe it has already been three months since the ’08 event, and already time to begin the hard work again! We have a huge goal ahead of us, since each year we seek to raise more than the year prior. Last year we raised 1.1 MILLION dollars in one evening. I hope we can top that success this year!
Please enjoy the photos from today’s event!