American Heart Association

The WSA Exchange

For healthy hearts and minds

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.

How do you “Healthy Selfie” this summer?

Healthy Selife Jenni Dingeldein and Sarah Higgenbottom


Portland is certainly known for its bike friendly commuter lanes, but Sarah Higginbotham and Jenni Dingeldein decided to take it indoors for a spin class within walking distance of their office! Their report card said that they collectively burned over 1,000 calories. Way to go ladies!



Healthy Selife from Yosemite - Scottie Nguyen and Sara Haydostian in Yosemite

Sarah Haydostian and Scottie Nguyen took an impromptu trip to Yosemite this past weekend. The pair hiked to the top of Vernal Falls, saw lower Yosemite Falls, took in a beautiful view off the top of Glacier Point and got lost in the valley. This photo was taken at the halfway point on their trek to the top of Vernal Falls. What a wonderful way to spend the weekend, taking in some of California’s most beautiful views while giving your heart a workout.


Marc Watterson Utah healthy selfie



In Utah Marc Watterson put the waterproof capabilities of his phone to the test when he fell overboard while kayaking with the Boy Scouts last week. We would never have guessed he was not a professional from his poised photo at left.


Jennifer Merback and family Hiking at Brighton resort Utah healthy selfie


And some more healthy happenings from Utah, Jennifer Merback’s family spent the weekend staying at the Lodge Chalets at Brighton Ski Resort. While there, the family went for a long walk/hike around one of the lakes where they saw a deer and lots of squirrels. Jennifer, Abby, Sammy and Judy, aka “Nana” are featured at right. Another morning Daddy and Boppa took the kids fishing. It was Abby’s first time fishing and Boppa bought her very own fishing pole. Alas, no fish were caught!

See ya later, Sneaky Salt!

Sneaky SaltWondering what happened to “Sneaky Salt”? Thanks to your hard work, we are making strides toward reducing Americans’ salt intake on both the grassroots and federal levels. This past June, we asked everyone who had taken the sodium pledge to be a voice for change in the community. An overwhelming 1,000 people sent letters to Nestlé to thank them for their new commitment to reducing the sodium levels of their products and ask them to take that commitment a step further.

Presently we are having regular discussions with the Food and Drug Administration regarding releasing voluntary sodium standards and protecting school meals. With the help from our supporters, 40,000+ messages have been sent to Congress in support of our School Meals Campaign. If you haven’t taken the sodium pledge yet, do it today! Join us in stopping “Sneaky Salt” in his tracks!

Meet Tim Gamble – Utah’s inspiring volunteer

Tim GambleOur Utah division sends word of a young stroke survivor named Tim Gamble who is inspiring everyone with his dedication to AHA/ASA. Tim first participated in Saving Strokes and then jumped at the opportunity to become a volunteer – a very active volunteer now working in the Salt Lake City office.

He suffered a stroke two years ago while on a weekend getaway with friends — he collapsed in front of his hotel room. This brave young man marked his 26th birthday while in the hospital. He had brain surgery when clot-busting tPA failed to dissolve the artery blockage in his brain. The clot reformed and today remains lodged in his brain.

Although he lost his job after the stroke, Tim forged on and returned to college pursuing a business management degree. Now he has decided he wants to work helping other stroke survivors and hopes for a career with the AHA/ASA someday. He started volunteering in the office last week and already has secured a $1,000 sponsorship for the Provo Saving Strokes event.

Tim’s story illustrates the fact that we never know the impact of our everyday activities. Meeting our staff and other stroke survivors at Saving Strokes has helped Tim focus on his future. We often characterize Saving Strokes as a life-changing experience — that is certainly true for Tim and our Salt Lake City staff working with him.

It’s a Healthy Selfie Summer

Terry Mock Healthy Selfie

Terry Mock and the Greater Bay Area Start Training team worked it hard Saturday morning when they did their 11 mile run in preparation for the half marathon they are training for. Some of the best things about this program? It keeps you active and accountable — all while raising funds for a great cause. Go Terry and team!

Healthy Selfie Terry Mock and family at Mendocino National Forest


After a day hiking and swimming in Mendocino National Forest, Terry Mock and family took a moment to enjoy the breathtaking views.


Healthy Selfie, Mike Castillo at Comic Con



Mike Castillo met his step goal for the day and then some! He shared that he walked for miles and miles around San Diego Comic Con and meeting various heroes and villains and famous people. Looks like a fun way to stay active!


Healthy Selfie Kerrin with her "cake"

Healthy dessert? No problem for the Phoenix crew! Kerrin Kleinschmidt made a “cake”… completely made up of fruit! This was a great treat for the monthly Phoenix All Staff Meeting.  She shared that she also made a batch of a healthy Greek yogurt/peanut butter/honey dip that people could sprinkle over it (like a ‘frosting’).  It was a huge hit. Healthy, creative and delicious – way to go, Kerrin!Healthy Selfie summer cake made of fruit - healthy cake







San Diego Healthy Selfie

The San Diego Team collaborates purposefully and values people! Last week they braved the sun and took a long, heart-healthy walking meeting to Robeks for healthy smoothies. It looks like a great way to cool off! Pictured: Lindsay Darnell, Tania White, Erin Doherty, Megan Fett and Erica Phung.


Summer Healthy Selfie Ellen Friedman and brotherEllen Friedman recently visited her brother in New York City for the first time since he moved there. She shared that they spent all of Saturday walking around the city – clocking an amazing 24,888 steps – her highest day yet (walking just over 11 miles)! The “selfie” is Ellen and her brother rowing around Central Park. Fresh air, culture and activity – sounds like a perfect summer day, to me!