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!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January 2012 EVP Letter- You're The Cure; Advocacy Efforts

January 2012

Dear Friend of Heart:

Thirty years ago, the American Heart Association developed a new strategy to amplify the voices and improve the lives of millions of Americans struggling with heart disease and stroke. Harnessing the passion of amazing volunteers from every corner of the country, we took to the steps of the Capitol and began advocating for legislation to improve the lives of heart and stroke patients.

Armed with American Heart Association science, these passionate volunteers used their personal stories to give faces and names to the fight against two of our nation’s leading killers. These coordinated efforts have led to major lifesaving changes, including doubling the NIH budget for biomedical research from 1998 to 2003 and the passage of statewide clean indoor air laws across the country. These kinds of victories save lives and change lives for millions of people, and would not be possible without extraordinary volunteers leading the charge.

Our volunteers have many faces, and many reasons for joining the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission. Some of them are survivors. Some have lost loved ones to heart disease or stroke. But all of them have shown an unwavering commitment to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

One of these extraordinary individuals is Stevie Nelson, a Minnesota resident whose life changed when he suffered a stroke on April 22, 1998. One year later, Stevie began his quest to improve outcomes for stroke patients through volunteerism. He has lobbied at both the local and federal level for stroke funding and has seen first-hand how his personal testimony can effect change.

“Being a volunteer gave me a new mission, a new purpose in life,” Nelson said. “My goal is to pass my knowledge on so others can lead healthier lives. Some of the things I have fought and advocated for have come into law. Just knowing I played a part in that is a great feeling.”

Because of Stevie, and millions of others like him, we have celebrated many victories in the three decades we’ve been advocating for lifesaving public policies. But our work is not done. Heart disease is still our nation’s No. 1 killer, and stroke is No. 4. I encourage you to join our amazing corps of volunteers by signing up for our You're the Cure network at You can learn more about our work and meet more of our volunteers by watching our 30th Anniversary celebration video, or by visiting and clicking on Advocate.

Being a You’re the Cure advocate gives you the opportunity to lend your voice to our legislative efforts. It’s fast, it’s simple and it’s free.

And with this one simple step, you can help the American Heart Association make the next 30 years better than the last.

Warm regards,

Kevin D. Harker
Executive Vice President, Midwest Affiliate

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