The WSA Exchange

For healthy hearts and minds

The WSA Exchange

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.

Guest Bloggers San Diego Division: A Mother’s Day Thank You to Trisha Khaleghi

Our San Diego Division, like all of our teams, thrives on volunteer support. In honor of Mother’s Day the San Diego team recognizes the dedication of a special American Heart Association volunteer and heart mom, Trisha Khaleghi.

San Diego - Trisha Khaleghi and son BlakeIn honor of Mother’s Day, we want to recognize AHA Volunteer Trisha Khaleghi. Trisha currently holds the role of CEO of Sharp Mary Birch, Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team Member, and most importantly mom to Blake, who at just 7 days old went through open heart surgery.

1 in 100 children are born with a Congenital Heart Defect and although it was unknown at delivery, Blake was one of these children. Trisha was told early on that Blake may not survive, words no mother ever thinks they will hear. Deemed a “miracle baby,” Blake has had a stent placed, several cardiac catheterization’s, and consistent monitoring until finally he could leave the hospital and go home.

Blake, now 16, leads a “typical” life on the outside, though there are still struggles. He has had to learn his limitations while playing sports, something that Trisha says was very challenging. “I just worry about him a little more,” she said when discussing some of the fears she has for Blake. Though he is currently healthy she also worries about his future and if he may have to undergo another surgery.

Trisha describes Blake as having a magnetic personality, with a happy, light-heartedness about him and says he is such a beautiful child and brings so much joy to her life. She is looking forward to seeing him graduate college (hopefully close to home) and pursue a career in sports broadcasting. She gets the cool mom award in saying that if the two of them could do anything together, they would go to a Kentucky Basketball Game!

We would like to extend a very Happy Mother’s Day to Trisha! Thank you for all that you do to bring awareness to Congenital Heart Disease and being such an example for other moms who may be going through the same thing! And Happy Mother’s Day to all of our fabulous mothers, we appreciate you all so much!

By |May 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Guest Blogger Rich Henry: Community involvement enriches employees experiences

rich henryRich Henry is the President of McCarthy Building Companies for the Northern Pacific Division. He is also the 2018 Greater Bay Area 2018 Heart of Gold Heart Ball Chair. We are honored to have him as a volunteer and advocate.

As the President of a large company, I have come to believe that the health and wellness of my employees is a top priority. That is why when the opportunity to collaborate with the American Heart Association arose, I knew it was a “must do.” McCarthy Building Company is proud to team up with the AHA to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke, and enrich the lives of our employees and communities.

This relationship will be focused on ensuring that all of our employees not only take care of themselves and their families today, but “build” a foundation for a long and healthy future.

We recently introduced this important relationship to our Northern Pacific Division Shareholders. We stressed the importance of exercising and nutrition, and included social awareness (my personal favorite) through building Heart Hero Kits. These Heart Hero Kits are super hero themed and will be delivered to local hospital pediatric units in the San Francisco Bay Area. The kits include a red cape, mask, activity book, crayons and a personalized card.

It was a joy to see our Shareholders and their families so invested in their health and in the health of their community. I look forward to the next three years and seeing what we can accomplish together! macarthy 1mcarthy 2

By |May 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Seattle Kids Cook With Heart

The Seattle Team hosted a very successful Kids Cook With Heart class – complete with outstanding media coverage!seattle kids cook

The program brings hands-on cooking instruction to the classroom with the goal of teaching elementary, middle and high school students about heart-healthy cooking. Regular feedback is that participants take it upon themselves to teach their parents what they’ve learned, and end up influencing their entire family’s eating habits!

Beloved local celebrity chef Ethan Stowell made a special visit to the event, joining participants at a middle school for their chili cookoff. Ethan helped the kids learn to make chili and taste-tested at the end. Check out the great story and video feature by TV newsmagazine and website Seattle Refined.

Kids Cook With Heart is locally sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.

By |May 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Junior Chef Challenge teaches kids life skills

KCWH 1Over the last several weeks, elementary students from five Vallejo and Fairfield, California, schools learned about knife skills, preparation cuts, sauces and a variety of new fruits and vegetables through our Kids/Teens Cook With Heart program.

The course recently concluded with a “Jr. Chef Challenge” where students prepared dishes and demonstrated knife and etiquette skills. This program is a great example of empowering students to make healthier choices, giving them life skills that will improve their heart health now and as an adult.

New this year, the program will reward the Kids Cook With Heart family that best fulfills the Healthy Family Social Media Challenge. A few of the criteria include eating out less, cooking at home more, consuming more water and fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, being active together, and eating fruits and vegetables at mealtimes. They must post pictures to social media and tag them with AHA, Kaiser Permanente and other associated hashtags.

The Vacaville Reporter and the Vallejo Times Herald both ran featured cover stories on the event. Congratulations and thank you to our volunteers and staff who made this fun event possible!

By |May 3rd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments