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, March 29, 2012

Bill Seeks to Teach Every Student in Minnesota How To Perform CPR

March 29, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A young woman who survived a cardiac arrest is urging lawmakers to pass a bill which would require all students in Minnesota to receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation before graduation.

At age 18, Jamie LaLonde collapsed while at work at the Mall of America.

"Nobody around me knew how to do CPR, knew what to do when somebody collapses, and I was lucky enough that a mall security guard came very quickly, within five minutes, and started doing CPR. I just think that it's super important. People should know how to save somebody if they need to."

LaLonde was in a coma for two days but fully recovered and is attending college, hoping to become a paramedic.

The proposed legislation, drafted by the American Heart Association, would require all Minnesota high schoolers to take one 30-minute class.

A co-author of the bill, state Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, was a health and physical-education teacher for more than 30 years and taught many students how to perform CPR. He says this requirement would save lives.

"It's a great opportunity for the state of Minnesota to bring CPR training into the schools and go out in the communities - and you have well-trained people, especially young people. They know they have the skills, so if something does come up - they could be out with their dad hunting, or parents or a neighbor of somebody who might need CPR, and you've got people who are trained and confident."

Dettmer says the bill has the support of many colleagues. For those legislators still on the fence about the requirement, LaLonde notes that heart issues don't just affect the elderly.

"It happens to young kids too, and if it was their son or daughter, wouldn't they want somebody around that knew CPR and knew what to do and help increase the chances of saving them?"

Studies show that bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates from cardiac arrest. More than 20 percent of all deaths in Minnesota are linked to heart disease.

Details of H.F. 2329 (S.F. 1908) are online at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN

Friday, March 23, 2012

Join us - 2nd Annual Health Equity Day on March 28

Please join us for the 2nd Annual Health Equity Day 2012 at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 28.

Health Equity Day is a recognition of the power of our Asian, African, African American, American Indian, Latino, LGTBQ and allied communities coming together to fight for greater equity at the State and local levels in MN.


We seek systemic change across social factors that influence and can provide optimal access to health for all.

Free and open to the public.

Day starts at 9:30am across the street from Capitol at Southeast Asian Ministry with:
- community dialogue on health equity
- learning tools to identify systemic & social factors affecting health equity
- discussing how our communities currently advance health equity

Then we RALLY AT THE CAPITOL ROTUNDA at 12:30pm with Sen. Hayden, Rep. Champion and Rep. E Murphy.

More details available at:

Registration is required for morning session.

Sponsors & Supporters:

Minnesota Asian/American Health Coalition
American Heart Association
Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
American Indian Cancer Foundation
Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans
Minnesota Oromo Health Advocates
Program in Health Disparities Research, U of MN Medical School
Rainbow Health Initiative
Southeast Asian Ministry
Stairstep Foundation
Tamales Y. Bicicletas
Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota
WellShare International

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MN Stroke Conference - June 4, 2012

Register Now!

Participant registration is now open for the 2012 Minnesota Stroke Conference, taking place June 4th in St. Paul, MN. See the Conference Brochure or visit the conference webpage to register and find more conference details. Space is limited, so please register early!

We are also pleased to offer an NIHSS Certification Training Session immediately after the conference for no additional fee. Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Department of Medicine, Neurologic Emergency Treatment Trials Network and the American Heart Association, this 1 hour and 45 minute session is available for up to 100 participants. This session requires separate registration; please follow the instructions on the conference webpage or in the conference brochure.

There are still slots available for exhibitors. More information and a downloadable registration form:

We look forward to seeing you in June!

More MN Schools Serving Locally-Grown Foods

John Michaelson, Public News Service-MN

(03/21/12) ST. PAUL, Minn. - More Minnesota students are finding locally grown foods as they peruse the choices in the cafeteria lunch line, thanks to the Farm to School program from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

When IATP started the Farm to School program in 2006, says JoAnne Berkenkamp, the institute's program director for local foods, less than 20 districts took part. This year, there are 145.

"In fact, the districts that are participating are doing Farm to School at all - or nearly all - of the schools that they serve. So, it's about 558,000 students, and that represents about 68 percent of Minnesota's entire K-12 population."

Berkenkamp calls the program a "win-win" for opening new markets for Minnesota farmers while also teaching students about agriculture.

"It's about not only changing what's on the tray, but about educating students about where their food comes from - how it's grown, how it's processed - while keeping more of that food dollar circulating among our local farmers and in our local economy. So, it's really both about the kids and it's about the farmers."

Berkenkamp says most districts start out with locally grown apples and expand from there, adding everything from carrots and corn to broccoli and bison. She says having more choices of fresh, nutritious food is improving students' diets.

"About 43 percent of the food service directors told us that they believe that children's consumption of fruits and vegetables increases when those foods are part of their Farm to School Program. So, I think we're gaining the momentum now, and we're able to see that kids' eating habits are changing as a result of Farm to School, and that's a fabulous development."

It's estimated that $1.3 million of local Farm to School foods were purchased by Minnesota school districts last year alone. For the next school year, 99 percent of those districts say they plan to continue or expand their programs.

More information is online at

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

EMS Filming on Stroke Signs & Symptoms

EMT Jenny Hoppe from Tri-County EMS out of Wadena is filmed in the stroke PSA.

On Monday, March 19, several rural EMS systems came together to film a statewide public service announcement on stroke signs and symptoms and calling 9-1-1. Filmed in St. Cloud, EMS were represented from Scott County, Wadena, Leech Lake and Pine County along with a young stroke survivor from St. Cloud. The PSA, produced by AHA and the Minnesota Department of Health, will air on TV stations across the state of Minnesota starting in May for American Stroke Month.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Raise It For Health Coalition Lobby Day - March 22

Join us on March 22 for the Raise for Health Coalition Lobby Day at the Capitol to fight tobacco:

* Learn about protecting your family & community from the tobacco industry
* Meet with your lawmakers
* Presentation in the Rotunda

Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd. West St. Paul

We meet in the morning at the History Center for training (9-11:00AM training) then head over to the Capitol for our lobby visits with legislators in the afternoon.

The day is free, but advanced registration is required.
Contact Ngia Mua or 952-278-7934 to register or with questions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

American Heart Association Statement on Surgeon General's Report

Our Nation Must Do More to Shut Down the Pipeline of New Smokers, Says American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown

Washington, D.C., Mar. 8, 2012 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on the new report, “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” released today by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D.:

“The Surgeon General has done her job. Now we must do ours. This insightful new report makes it clear that we cannot let our guard down for a minute when it comes to tobacco addiction. While many Americans may think tobacco use is fading away, the evidence in this report tells a dramatically different story.

Not only is the decline in smoking stalled, but more young Americans are using tobacco products peddled by an industry intent on addicting a new generation. As this report reveals, each of the 1,200 Americans who die from tobacco-related diseases every day are being replaced by two smokers under the age of 26. We know that this smoking can set teens and young adults on the road to early hardening of the arteries and coronary artery disease in adulthood.

Despite this evidence, our society’s vigilance against tobacco use has waned in recent years — even though we have the solutions that can end this epidemic once and for all. The Surgeon General’s report confirms that combined interventions — such as mass media campaigns, well-funded state prevention and cessation programs, increased tobacco taxes, and smoke-free laws — reduce tobacco use among youth and adults. The American Heart Association strongly supports all of these interventions.

States are the key battleground in this ongoing war against tobacco. Unfortunately, state tobacco prevention funding has been reduced by one-third in the past several years, and many tobacco tax and smoke-free law initiatives have faced uphill battles in state legislatures. How many more young Americans need to become addicted to tobacco and suffer from heart disease, stroke or other chronic diseases before the states take action?

The Surgeon General’s report is an urgent warning for our nation, and particularly for states that must renew their commitment to tobacco control in order to stop a new generation of young people from lighting their first cigarette.”