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!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May is Stroke Month-Educate Yourself and those You LOVE!

Did you know that when it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost? Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke and every second that person goes untreated, thousands of brain cells are lost, potentially impairing their ability to carry out the simple, every day tasks we take for granted.

While the statistics are startling, we all have a role to play in ensuring future victims of stroke have the best chance for recovery. Join me in learning the five warning signs of a stroke and how to respond to them quickly. Your ability to recognize a stroke and act could make all the difference.

• Walk — Is their balance off?
• Talk — Is their speech slurred or face droopy?
• Reach — Is one side weak or numb?
• See — Is their vision all or partly lost?
• Feel — Is their headache severe?

If you see just one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait- call 9-1-1 immediately! For more information, visit

Even our legislators on Capitol Hill have a role to play in raising awareness about stroke- but they need to hear from you that this health issue is a priority. Right now, the Senate is considering the STOP Stroke Act- legislation which aims to ensure that stroke is more widely recognized by the public as a medical emergency and treated more effectively by healthcare providers. Join me in sending a message to our Senators today, urging them do their part to pass the STOP Stroke Act.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Telecommuting to the UK, CPR Month and MORE!

WHEW!! May has been whirl-wind in more ways than one! A lengthy vacation took a chunk out of the middle of the month for me, but we are back home and running!

May started with the creation of the International Coalition to Defeat Childhood Obesity, which I am honored to have been nominated to. I will serve as an Arkansas Liaison to this incredible organization, with hopes to travel to the UK in a few months time. We had hoped to host the Rt. Honorable Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Public Health, here in the state of Arkansas. Sadly, the Myanmar tragedy preempted those plans. International focus needs to be with those victims at this time, and we in Arkansas are among those praying for the survivors, and supporting the relief efforts. However, we are blessed to live in the 21st Century, and have amazing technologies at our disposal! So, instead of shaking hands and meeting face to face, we clicked on our computers and enjoyed a “telecommute” to the UK! The UK is very interested in our BMI bill, and deeply wants to install a similar program in its’ public education system. We began by sharing our original BMI bill, which was voted into law and ratified by former Governor Mike Huckabee in 2003. We then detailed for Ms. Primarolo the rollercoaster ride of alterations and changes, and even the battle for repeal that have come since that time. We were happy to share with her that there is now a strong backing for the current BMI procedures in Arkansas, and the seven other states that followed suit. More meetings are to follow, so stay with me as we continue this process over the coming months. I anticipate my first trip to the UK in the near future!

May is national CPR month across America! We at the AHA are attempting to get as many persons as possible trained in this life saving technique. Workshops will be held nation wide through the month to train individuals on how to react in crisis situations, and how to be part of saving a life. If bystander CPR is not provided, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival fall 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute of delay until defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation are successful if CPR and defibrillation are not provided within minutes of collapse. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after cardiac arrest, can double a victim’s chance of survival. We will be having our CPR training day in Little Rock, on May 30th. I hope to see you there!

Also, Taking Wellness to Heart is gearing up for another fundraising season. Be watching for “Heartstrong Woman” conferences in your area, and opportunities to give to and AED drive near you. Last year alone we placed 17 Automatic Electronic Defibrillators in the state of Arkansas, bringing our overall total since 2005 to 47. We hope to double that number next year!