Welcome 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.

Sacramento Creativity Scores!

Way to go, Sacramento!

American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Guiding Values: Bringing Science to Life, Improving and Extending People's Lives, Building Powerful Partnerships, Speaking with a Trustworthy Voice, Ensuring equitable Health for all, Meeting People Where They Are, Making and Extraordinary Impact, Inspiring Passionate Commitment I am so excited to let you know our Sacramento division has won the creative video contest National Center conducted to  help introduce the new AHA “Guiding Values” strategic platform.  Please take a moment to watch this creative and witty video – it’s outstanding. And, it certainly illustrates how using “Guiding Values” in our daily work at the AHA helps guide the association to success.

It’s important that everyone who works for and with the association understands and uses these “Guiding Values” every day to drive our business strategy forward. The intrinsic statements define who we are and how we do business. They apply to everything we do, no matter what your position within the AHA is. Understanding the Guiding Values is another way to help us reach our 2020 Impact Goal.

Sacramento Guiding Values video 2

Former NFL Greats Lend a Heart and Hand

Jesse Sapolu - OC Heart Run Walk - DSC_0231 - July 2014Last week, four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu and his wife Lisa hosted a kickoff breakfast to launch the 2014 Heart Run & Walk in South Orange County, CA. The Sapolus are co-chairing the inaugural event, a timed 10K and 5K run and walk, that aims to raise $200,000 to support our work.

The reception held at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo included an intimate NFL Insiders Panel discussion moderated by Sapolu formerly of the San Francisco 49ers and featuring fellow NFL greats Roy Foster of the 49ers and Doug Smith and Vince Ferragamo of the Los Angeles Rams. They answered questions about their experience on the field during their heydays as football legends, shared their perspective on the current state of player health and safety and talked about the life lessons they learned on the field. They also gave a bottle of wine and a generous cash donation to the AHA by Ferragamo’s winery.

During the event Sapolu shared his little-known story as a heart disease survivor. He contracted rheumatic fever when he was four years old, leaving a tear in his heart valve and causing his heart to enlarge and grow weaker. Despite his heart condition Sapolu played for 13 years with the 49ers and then after open heart surgery, resumed his career. He has had two heart valve replacement surgeries and credits the AHA’s research efforts for saving his life. It was AHA funded research that led to the development of the artificial heart valve in the 1960s.

Stroke survivor and attorney Jim Bastian of Schulman, Bastian & Hodges also spoke at the event and invited fellow executives to join the countywide executive challenge to support and raise money for the September 7th OC Heart Run & Walk.

What a wonderful way to inspire and engage others in our mission!

Dancing is good for the HEART and MIND!


Las Vegas volunteers got together to shake their stuff at a recent “Zumbathon” to benefit the association.

Seventeen Zumba instructors recently joined forces to raise funds and awareness for heart disease and stroke! They donated their time and brought many of their personal fitness-craze followers to the event. Some 150 people joined in the fun to help raise more than $1,100 for the cause.

Zumba-Vegas-June-2014Volunteer Betty Lopez chaired the committee, helping to recruit the instructors and put the upbeat and jazzy music together for three hours non-stop of Zumba! Univision TV also gave full support by creating Public Service Announcements, a Facebook page to promote the event and included it in their community calendar. Carlos Espinoza from Univision was the emcee of the event while Everest College nursing students performed free blood pressure and glucose screenings.

I dare you to stand still while you watch the video, it’s nearly impossible!

Congratulations and thanks to the volunteers and staff who made this FUN event possible.

Powerful Volunteer Support

I had a wonderful volunteer story come across my desk that was so good I had to share. For the first time ever, the Go Red For Women luncheon was relocated from Stockton to Modesto, CA, this year, impacting a whole new group of women and community leaders.

The Open Your Heart portion of the program raised over $30,000 – making the event a resounding success! This couldn’t have been done without the help of extraordinary volunteers like Thomas Lytel-Starks, a college student and avid volunteer. Thomas took the initiative to reach out to the American Heart Association on his own and offered his time for the complete set-up and break-down of the event.

Thomas Lytel-StarksHe helped out the afternoon and evening before and then arrived the next morning at 7:30 a.m. to continue stuffing goodie bags, loading and unloading vendors and greeting people as they arrived. He was the last to leave that day and showed what it means to be a true volunteer champion.

I never cease to be amazed at the personal dedication and time that people are willing to give. What a blessing to have so many wonderful individuals around us. Thank you Thomas for helping to make the first Go Red For Women luncheon in Modesto a memorable one!