Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Minnesota Advocates Hit Capitol Hill

On April 11 and 12th the American Heart Association held its Federal Lobby Day in Washington D.C. Minnesota was well represented by volunteer advocates Stevie Nelson, Mark Olson and Jack Olwell, as well as Heart Association staff Justin Bell and Heather Shetka. We were there to meet with our members of congress to ask for their support increasing NIH funding for heart disease and stroke research, the FIT Kids Act and Safe Routes to Schools.

As survivors of a heart attack and stroke, Mark and Stevie were the best possible voices to convey the importance of NIH research to the health and well being of all Minnesotans and they did an fantastic job not only putting the personal face to the issue, but also pointing out how much Minnesota has benefited from NIH research economically.

When we were talking about FIT Kids or safe Routes to School, the message was childhood obesity prevention and creating a more active environment for our kids. As a Physical Education teacher for 34 years, we couldn’t have hoped for a better advocate than Jack and he came in fired up and well prepared!

After spending Monday traveling, preparing and training, we spent the entire day Tuesday bouncing around Capitol Hill trying to squeeze in SIX meetings (often as geographically far apart as they could be). We met with staff from the offices of Rep. John Kline, Rep. Erik Paulsen, Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. We also met in person with Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Betty McCollum. We certainly had a Dream Team – our advocates did an excellent job of working together to effectively bring our message to Congress.

Support their efforts by sending a message to your legislators on these three important issues. Follow this link to take action and participate virtually in our Lobby Day.

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