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.
The WSA now has its first, official Transformation Station – thanks to Maria Guerra, Orange County division board member and Multicultural Initiatives Task Force leader. She recently opened a new gym – Hard Core Fitness Studio in Lake Forest — and has set aside an area dedicated to AHA healthy lifestyle choices. Maria is pictured (center) with OC staff members during a class at the new facility.
Maria says the idea was inspired by her desire to take people on an overall wellness journey and to emphasis that fitness is a complete process that affects more than just your weight. The station is free to use and open to the public. Individuals can measure their height and weight, have their body fat and BMI assessed — and a link at heart360.org to keep track of their blood pressure.
The Transformation Station concept breaks new ground in providing tools to help folks track progress towards their fitness and healthy living goals! Thanks to Maria for truly living our mission by inspiring people to transform not just their bodies, but their overall health.
High-level volunteers in our Boise division recently got a closer look at the power of Mission: Lifeline. Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center provided a group of our board members, sponsors and Circle of Red members with a moment-to-moment demonstration of emergency response for heart attack victims. Guests were led through the lifesaving process from the initial 9-1-1 call, the EKG machine crucial for diagnosing heart attack victims in the field, and arrival at a cath lab in record time.
It was great to also have Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) from Ada County Paramedics participating. This group recently received the Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award which recognizes the greatest level of success in improving procedures and outcomes for patients suffering STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), the deadliest form of heart attack. One of the EMTs is pictured demonstrating the EKG machine.
We’re thrilled to partner with such capable allies in our fight to save heart attack patients.
Thanks to our advocacy volunteers and staff in Washington State, we took a few great strides in our fight against childhood obesity. Governor Jay Inslee recently signed a transportation revenue package that funds a statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program (PBSP) and it includes $56 million for our Safe Routes to School project! Our advocates joined with our partners the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition and Washington Bikes to lobby for this funding.
The PBSP funding package also includes $75 million for a state grant program and an additional $89 million for its Project List. The purpose of these programs is to improve safety and mobility for children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. What better way to incorporate physical activity into a child’s day than to attach it to their other most standard daily activity? Local schools can apply for funds to help secure a safe path to campus– from streetlights, signage and crosswalk markings to landscaping and educational materials.
My favorite example is the fun approach taken by Washington Elementary, the only school in Vancouver, WA, in which all students walk to school. It has established a “walking school bus” with some 25 percent of the students now connecting with adult volunteers at designated spots to walk to school.
There were nothing but smiles during Oahu’s recent Heart Walk at Kapiolani Park. Kumu Sky Gora (a kumu is someone who, through lineage or lifelong tutelage, is a master of a certain craft) started the day off on a spiritual note with a blessing oli (chant). Mayor Kirk Caldwell was also on hand to rally and cheer on the 4,000 plus crowd.
To get things started, volunteers led a Jazzercise session to warm everyone up for the beautiful 4.5 miles stroll around Diamond Head. The post-walk celebration offered opportunities for free health screenings by Pacific Health, who also provided an inflatable Mega Heart for families to walk through to learn the inner workings of the heart. It was an incredible opportunity for participants!
Visit the Hawaii Facebook page and tag your pals in photos from the event! Thank you to everyone who joined and also to all our generous sponsors for making this year’s Heart Walk a great success by topping last year’s fundraising efforts with a total of more than $484,000 dollars raised!