Welcome to the The WSA Exchange, for healthy hearts and minds. Kathy Rogers, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Executive Vice President will share stories from across the affiliate.
Halloween is tomorrow – what a perfect opportunity to turn our attention to kids – or in this case, one very special kiddo and her family.
“Hearts for Charlie” is a new Heart Walk team formed in Central California’s Kern County to support Charlie, a three-month-old born with hypo plastic left heart syndrome. She had her first surgery when just a few days old and was able to go home a little over a week later. The doctors told Charlie’s mom that her recovery was the faster than any other child they have seen with the syndrome. She will have her second surgery in January.
Charlie has two big sisters – two-year-old Sawyer and 11-year-old Mikala. These special girls are doing everything they can to help their newest family member. Mikala asked for donations in lieu of birthday presents at her recent party. She raised $2,500 and won the “Spirit of Heart” award at the Kern County Heart Walk. She was also the No. 3 Top Walker! Thank you, Makayla! You are a very sweet girl with a generous heart. Kern County Business Development Director Cori Kitchen found so many opportunities to highlight their story to inspire others, they made her an honorary “Hearts for Charlie” team member! The Hearts for Charlie Facebook page has over 11,000 followers – pretty amazing for a 3-month-old baby!
October 29, 2014, is no ordinary day for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. It is “World Stroke Day” and was established by the World Stroke Organization in 2006 to help spread public awareness of the world’s high stroke risk and stroke prevalence. Volunteers and staff around the affiliate capitalized on the opportunity to garner attention and raise awareness for a cause close to the heart of so many of us.
A stroke can happen to anyone, at any time, as evidenced by 27-year-old David Isaacson’s story of triumph and survival. His story was featured in The Olympian to help inform and inspire residents in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. Nationally, Super Model Claudia Mason shared her story and was even featured on The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee!
Remember, World Stroke Day may last for just 24 hours, but there are things we can do year round to support stroke awareness:
- Download and share the Spot A Stroke F.A.S.T. Infographic in your social media channels on World Stroke Day to help your friends, family and colleagues learn the stroke warning signs.
- Help your loved ones and colleagues by learning more about stroke and the most common warning signs by downloading the F.A.S.T. mobile app.
- Order your Stroke Solidarity String to show your stroke support!
- If you’re a healthcare professional or provider, you can also use our resources available on the Stroke Resource Center to help educate your staff, patients and community about stroke.
Visit Take 2 for Stroke to share your stroke story and learn how our National Sponsor is supporting global World Stroke Day initiatives.
They recently hosted a social event geared toward the thriving construction community in the area. The event kicked off the fundraising and wellness campaigns of the 2015 Phoenix Heart Walk. The 50 attendees had an opportunity to network and learn more about the mission of the American Heart Association. In addition, attendees heard the heartwarming experience of heart disease survivor and first responder Ken Mathys. Ken shared his passion for the association and the difference he has seen it make in his life and others.
The event was able to secure $225,000 in event sponsorship for the Heart Walk – a great start toward the $1.5 million goal!
It is my pleasure to announce that Multicultural Initiatives Director Marklem Valdovinos has won the prestigious American Heart Association Rome Betts Award. Marklem Valdovinos has consistently demonstrated outstanding results through implementation of programs that help to leverage and engage volunteers and address building a culture of health with our focus areas in hypertension, healthy eating/nutrition and obesity. She has a very large territory covering Orange County, North Central Coast and Coachella Valley. Marklem is a great collaborator and has developed key strategic partners and volunteers that engage with programs targeting the Hispanic community. She completed an amazing five events this year including:
- Todo Corazón, a celebration of culture and family health where 450 members from the
community had a fun filled day to not only learn about heart health but to take some actions by
downloading FAST App, CPR Anytime, and Simple Cooking with Heart demo.
- Launching our Check.Change.Control. blood pressure program in Orange County through a culturally appropriate church event.
- Healthy Futures – a program that empowers kids to make healthy choices. This is a program made possible thanks to funding from the Santa Barbara Heart Ball.
- Securing a $20,000 grant to work with two senior centers to implement Check.Change.Control., including a fashion show where the seniors were participants!
- Go Red Por Tu Corazón Health Ambassador Luncheon where 100 local Hispanic leaders came together to learn about the campaign and take action by becoming a health ambassador in the community. She partnered with development staff and the Chairman of the local board to help close a $25,000 sponsorship for the event.
Marklem also took the opportunity during CPR week to train 160 families on hands-only CPR by viewing the Spanish demo video and practicing the two steps to survival at the Anaheim Convention Center. These families were asked to share the CPR video with friends and family with a potential reach of over 800 people. I think it also important to mention that in collaboration with executive directors and volunteers, Marklem brought in over $66,000 for Multicultural Initiatives sponsorships and grants and continues to make contributions to both the multicultural team and the division offices she covers. To pull off two successful events in a year is a great accomplishment, but to do five as Marklem did this year, is truly remarkable. Her phenomenal networking and collaboration skills are key to her success – as are the volunteers she inspires and recruits. Congratulations, Marklem, we are so proud of you!