Sunday, March 1, 2009

Heart Month Success Stories

American Heart Month was a time of great activities all across the country. See the highlights here!

· MA – Celebrating the 6th annual Go Red for Woman event at the Massachusetts State House legislators showed their solidarity in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo & the Caucus of Women Legislators supported Heart Month.

· NY – The AHA held a briefing on women and heart disease for the New York City Council Women’s Caucus. Survivors and professionals shared stories and gave presentations on heart disease and associated risk factors. Both presentations were followed with recommended policy solutions for New York City.

· NYC – The NYC Council Women’s Caucus presented the AHA with a proclamation declaring February Heart Month. Advocates and Go Red for Women spokespersons shared their personal stories with the Council during the ceremony, helping to raise Council Members’ awareness that women are at risk.

· NV – In Nevada, legislators were encouraged to wear red in honor of National Wear Red day. Many proclamations were received across the state.

· AR – The Arkansas Legislature, their staff and state officers prepared for National Wear Red Day with a reception in the Rotunda of the AR State Capitol Feb. 4th. Wear Red Day Resolutions passed the House and Senate, encouraging all Arkansans to Wear Red Feb. 6! Legislators were presented with Red Dress pins and encouraged to wear red on Friday.

· OR – Multnomah County in Oregon approved menu labeling rules during Heart Month, which will go into effect March 12!

· ND – Achieved passage of a Go Red resolution in the state legislature. Legislators wore red on Feb. 5 and 6th! And, AHA Day at the Capital included a Go Red display and special legislative luncheon, with 1st Lady Mikey Hoeven present to greet legislators.

· MT – Montana held a Go Red for Women event held in Montana’s Capitol Rotunda 2/14/09. The Go Red event was a huge success with a Rotunda full of red dresses and ties!

· KY – February 10th brought nearly 60 YTC volunteers to the KY Capitol to advocate for more physical activity in schools and an increase in the KY cigarette excise tax, one of the lowest in the country (this was doubled after Lobby Day!) And, the Bravehearts (a Congenital Heart Defects group) were presented with a proclamation declaring February 14th as Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day in KY.
· AL – To kick off Heart month and the Capitol going red this year, a celebration was held Feb. 5, at the State Capitol in Montgomery. State Sen. Vivan Davis Figures, professionals and survivors, were among those sharing their experiences at the event.
· MN – Feb. 6th, the Rally at the MN Capitol Rotunda drew a red-clad crowd to celebrate the introduction of the Women’s Heart Health Promotion Act. The bill provides free heart disease screenings for as many as 15,000 low-income, uninsured or underinsured women. The celebration included speeches from advocates, the chief authors of the legislation, and even a flamenco dance performance by Zorongo, a local dance troupe.

· IA – About 75 advocates traveled from across the state for Heart on the Hill (from Sioux City to Elkridge) to show their support and commitment to heart disease and prevention funding and maintaining the support for the state’s tobacco cessation program. On this one day, 43% of the legislature learned about these issues directly from an AHA volunteer and constituent in person!

· WI – The Wisconsin State Capitol went red from February 5th through the 19th. AHA also hosted free heart disease and stroke screenings in the Capitol Rotunda. AHA facilitated a capitol seminar on women and heart disease where a survivor presented on “A Busy Women’s Guide to a Healthy Heart.”

· CA – In California, there was a “sea of red” at the Capitol on February 5th. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus cosponsored “Wear Red Day at the Capitol” to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

· RI – The American Heart Association hosted its annual Leading Ladies of Rhode Island event Feb. 5 at the State House. Advocates joined Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva-Weed, members of the RI Caucus of Women Legislators to raise awareness of the #1 and #3 killers of women. Immediately following the event, the House and Senate passed resolutions declaring February 6, 2009 “National Wear Red Day” in RI and the State House dome was illuminated in red! The Leading Ladies ran throughout the month of February on Capitol TV.

· LA – The Louisiana Governor’s Mansion went RED for Heart Month! The Mansion was light up with red lights for the entire month of February. Also First Lady Supriya Jindal spoke at the New Orleans and Baton Rouge GRFW luncheons and on 2une In, the morning show on WBRZ-Baton Rouge, which was hosted live from the Governor’s Mansion on Go Red Day.

· UT – In Utah, we held our 6th and largest Lobby Day to date on Wear Red Day where we raised awareness around Women & Heart Disease and also advocated for a Tobacco Tax increase and AED legislation.

· TX – Texas had a wonderful event entitled “Love Your Hearts Lobby Day” in Austin on February 17th. 15 volunteers from around the state participated and visited over 40 offices advocating for legislative issues including a statewide 100% smoke free air law and a physical education bill that will define “Physical Education” for the first time in Texas statute.

· VT – February 4th Vermont held its first ever Survivors Go Red Reception at the VT State House in Montpelier. The reception was attended by many legislators and covered by one of VT’s primary news stations! Two survivor speakers presented, one who is a heart survivor who had a heart attack 7 years ago at the age of 26; and another 38 year old stroke survivor who had a stroke just 8 months ago! Both shared their stories and asked our legislators to support our primary 2009 campaigns which are AED Good Samaritan legislation and protecting funding for our Tobacco Control Program.

· NM – Volunteers came in full support in the halls of the Santa Fe capital, dressed in red! They were there in numbers both in the House and Senate when Wear Red Day Proclamations were read on the floor. The AHA group was then asked to come down on the House and Senate floor by the sponsors of AHA legislation, as guests to be recognized by house speaker. YTC advocates also met with personal district house and senate legislators to encourage them to support our priorities.

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