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!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Advocate Spotlight! Jack Olwell

Jack Olwell (far left) teamed up with fellow advocates to meet with the office of Rep. John Kline (R-MN) about the FIT Kids Act during August Recess.

As an elementary physical education teacher, Jack Olwell, a You’re the Cure advocate from Minnesota, has seen the impact that poor nutrition and inactivity is having on today’s kids – and he is doing his part to reverse the trend.

“I know firsthand what these children will discover later if steps are not immediately taken to reverse this frightening trend. As I look out over a class of 50 students, I know that better than 25 of them will have heart related health problems and 15 of them will die early as a result of heart disease. I can’t let that happen to my students,” he said.

In addition to teaching his kids about lifelong healthy habits that will benefit them physically, emotionally, and academically, Jack has become a voice for his students through his advocacy work with the AHA.

“It is important that decision makers become more aware of the far reaching effects of this problem and what it is doing to our sons and daughters,” Jack stated. “For me, it was somewhat intimidating to think a common person could make an impression on those in the legislature who hold our future in their hands. I always assumed there were others who would step forward to tell their stories and take a stand. But I have learned that sometimes the small voices and unheard stories resonate loudest.”

In August, Jack teamed up with fellow advocates in his state — stroke survivor Stevie Nelson, state legislators Representative Bob Dettmer and Senator Ted Daley, and public health professional Becky Gonzalez-Campoy — to meet with the office of Rep. John Kline (R-MN) about the FIT Kids Act. As the Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, the congressman is a key decision-maker on the bill and having this all-star team of advocates demonstrate the expertise and passion for fighting childhood obesity that exists in his district was powerful.

A big thank you to Jack and the other advocates who exercised their voices for heart-healthy kids!

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