The reasons I volunteer are quite varied, but long before I knew what the American Heart Association was, I knew that I supported their mission to end heart disease.
Heart disease has been part of life since elementary school when my father had his first heart attack, while driving with my younger brother. Fortunately he was able to get the care he needed at the time, but it was the beginning of his lifetime battle with heart disease and my commitment to the cure. Watching the impact heart disease has had on my father’s quality of life motivates me to do everything I can to prevent heart disease in myself and others.
Since becoming a father, my commitment to the prevention and cure of heart disease has only grown stronger, so that my son will not have to spend his childhood worrying about the health of his father. I have used the resources of AHA to improve my own health, and I know that their advocacy for healthier school meals and quality physical education will improve the lives of my son and his friends.
While a longstanding personal connection to heart disease was the first thing that motivated me to support AHA, it isn’t the only thing. AHA’s promotion of CPR instruction for all has been important to me for a number of years.
It has been more than 20 years, but I will never forget witnessing a man collapse -and later die- in a large crowd of people. Although many people saw the man’s collapse, and 911 was called immediately, no one in the crowd began CPR. The feelings of helplessness -and the man’s inconsolable son- as we waited for EMS to arrive are still vivid in my mind today. While I do not know how long it was before help arrived, I still wonder if he would have survived if someone in the crowd was able to perform CPR while we waited.
Prevention of heart disease, emergency response and access to care for managing heart disease are all incredibly important to me, and AHA is leading the fight in all of those areas. For those reasons and many more I’m always happy to be a You’re the Cure advocate.